Question NW2131 to the Minister of Employment and Labour

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21 September 2021 - NW2131

Profile picture: Cardo, Dr MJ

Cardo, Dr MJ to ask the Minister of Employment and Labour

What (a) number of applications for exemption from collective bargaining agreements have been (i) received and (ii) approved since the beginning of the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020 and (b) are relevant details in each case?


It is important for the honourable Dr Cardo to realise that majority of the bargaining councils which is +- 85% are made up of small businesses. Furthermore, out of 46 bargaining councils, 40 are private sector bargaining councils and they employ +-950 000 employees in the economy.

Not all of these bargaining councils have concluded collective agreements and/or have extended their collective agreements to non-parties. The remaining 6 are in public sector. Given that in the public sector there is one employer, there is no need for exemption applications

In terms of the law, bargaining councils are required to annually (covering 1 January to 31 December) furnish the Registrar of Labour Relations with the information on exemptions so as to see whether they have taken the affairs of small businesses into consideration.

The Registrar of Labour Relations received reports from 22 of the bargaining councils; and only 13 received exemption applications.

A total of 1443 exemption applications were received by 13 bargaining councils IN 2020:

  • A total of 660 exemptions were granted to all; and out of 660, 310 were granted to small businesses;
  • A total of 715 were refused; and out of 715, 329 refusals were for small business;
  • Withdrawn were 34; and 11 were for small business; and
  • By end December, 34 applications were still under considerations.

The granted exemptions range from wages, conditions of employment, provident/pension fund; and medical/sick funds amongst others. When application is refused, it is because it does not comply with the requirements to be granted an exemption.



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