Basic Conditions of Employment Bill; Labour Relations Amendment Bill: hearings

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Employment and Labour

15 October 2001
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Meeting report

 

LABOUR PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 October 2001
BASIC CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT BILL; LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT BILL: PUBLIC HEARINGS

Chairperson: Mr S Manie

Documents handed out :
Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill [B70-2001]
Labour Relations Amendment Bill [B77-2001]
Submission by Business South Africa
Submission by COSATU
Submission by The Free Market Foundation (available 22 October)

SUMMARY
The Committee heard submissions from Business South Africa, COSATU, the Independent Bar Association and the Free Market Foundation. Business South Africa and Cosatu were requested to reach a compromise on the retrenchment clause and present the Committee with a final view. The Free Market Foundation argued that the two ways in which to increase the demand for labour was firstly, growth and secondly, through incentives.

MINUTES
Business South Africa
Mr Van Vuuren, with colleagues Dr F. Barker, Dr E Strydom and Ms C Gardner, stated that Business South Africa had been part of the NEDLAC process over the past few months. It was this process which initiated the outcome of the results presented in their submission.
The submission by Business South Africa focused on three key issues, namely:
-The Retrenchment Clause
-Sunday Work Provisions
-Collective Groupings

He presented his written submission and invited questions from Members.

Discussion
Mr Clelland (DP) asked for an explanation of the term "forum shopping". Ms Thabetha (ANC) also requested and explanation of the term.

Mr Van Vuuren explained that forum shopping currently meant that elective right employees could decide whether to go to the Labour Court with their issue, alternatively to go on strike. With regard to substantive issues, Business South Africa recommends that these rights be limited or restricted. In other words, employees would not have the freedom to choose in this regard.

Mr Mshudulu (ANC) expressed concern about the new terminology and wording contained in the difinition of the term "retrenchment". He also asked Business South Africa what their viewpoint was on the disclosure of information.


Mr Van Vuuren responded that in using the words "dismissal" and "retrenchment" no attempt was being made by Business South Africa to camouflage whether retrenchment was less serious.
Regarding disclosure of information, Business South Africa had been silent on this issue because it was an agreed upon principle as contained in S189 of the Labour Relations Act.

Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
COSATU President: Mr W Madisha, outlined four key issues:
-The Labour Relations Amendment Bill
-Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill
-The Skills Development Act
-The Employment Equity Act

Mr Patel: Regional Secretary, COSATU, advised that the NEDLAC process had been extremely difficult, but at the same time slightly productive. It was through this interaction with NEDLAC that a substantive bilateral consensus was obtained. However, the following areas could not be agreed upon, namely: Clause 5 - Section 34 (A); Clause 9 - Section 50 (2A); Clause 10 - Section 55. Clause 20 - Section 83 (A); Clause 3 - Section 28 (1) (1); Clause 22 - Section 115 (2A).
Clause 22 - Section 115 (2B); Clause 26, 27, 28 ; Clause 39 (1) - Section 154 (7) (a).
Clause 40 (c) -Section 158 (1A); Clause 48 - Section 189 (2); Clause 48 - Section 189 (3).
Clause 48 - Section 189 (4) (b); Clause 49 - Section 189 A (3); Clause 49 - Section 189 (A) (7) (a).
Clause 49 - Section 189 A (10) (b); Clause 49 - Section 189 A (13), (14), (15)
Clause 49 - Section 189 A (19) (1); Clause 50 (e) - Section 191 (5) (a) (ii); Clause 52 - Section 194 (1). Clause 53 - Section 197; Clause 55 - Section 200 A; Clause 58 (e) - Section 213; Clause 59 - Item 27 (1) (a) and 28.

Mr Patel referred Members to pages 16-25 of the submission.

Discussion
Mr Clelland (DP) asked Business South Africa if they agreed with COSATU’s submission that the words "operational requirement" be deleted from Clause 49; Section 189 A (19) (i) as contained on page 23 of COSATU’s submission document.

Dr Barker responded that Business South Africa did not support this view because it was a substantive amendment and not a technical amendment as suggested by COSATU.

The Chair then addressed Business South Africa and COSATU by stating that both organisations had given substantial motivations as to why certain amendments should be made. Furthermore, that the whole purpose of public hearings was to hear what the general public had to say on this subject matter. He suggested that the parties obtain some common ground or a final view which is then to be presented before the Committee.

Free Market Foundation
Mr Leon Louw: Director, Free Market Foundation, argued that there were two ways to increase the demand for labour. Firstly, through growth and secondly, through incentives. He referred Members to the Foundation’s written submission.

Independent Advocates Association
Advocate Klein stated that no presentation was necessary as the Bill now made provision for independent advocates to appear in the Labour Court, not previously provided for.

The hearings were adjourned for the day.

 

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