Cosatu vows to hold out

2012-04-29 19:30

Johannesburg - Cosatu says it will fight the proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act with all its might.

The amendments involve numerous attacks on fundamental labour rights which are being justified as measures to combat violence during strikes, says the trade union in a statement issued on Thursday following a special meeting of its executive committee.

By far most of the strikes are not violent, says Cosatu. It says unions cannot be held legally and financially responsible for the illegal activities of individuals in the environment of union activity.

This would bankrupt unions and prevent them from protecting their members, Cosatu says.

Despite the deadlock in Nedlac over key issues, including labour broking, the bill was approved by Cabinet this year and has been presented to Parliament.

According to Cosatu, the amendments will mean that all workers in the public sector will be regarded as suppliers of essential services, which will deprive them of the right to strike.

The Department of Labour has on several occasions tried to appease the union by saying that this classification will automatically apply only to customs and immigration officers, as well as workers in the court system as well as the application of the law.

Cosatu also has serious concerns about other new measures regulating strikes. The reintroduction of a compulsory secret ballot before a strike can be called is especially in its sights.

Cosatu says this could be easily manipulated by employers to delay strikes and demoralise workers.

The unions' democratic mandate cannot be controlled by the state.

According to the proposals the Labour Court will also more explicitly have the power to suspend strikes if picket lines are violated and employers will be able to claim compensation if they suffer damage as a result of such violations, says Cosatu.

This could spell the end of smaller unions should their assets be plundered by cynical employers, says Cosatu.

In addition, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) will receive the right to intervene in protracted strikes in the "public interest", and oblige the parties to accept mediation under its auspices.

The CCMA cannot be permitted to decide when it's in the public interest to intervene. This is an attack through the back door, says Cosatu.

 - Sake24

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  • Nigel - 2012-04-29 20:18

    give it up Vavi, you want a job on the gravy train, why delay this, you are not about the people of SA, you are in it for yourself, just like the rest of the ANC cadres, not so!!

  • Peter - 2012-04-29 20:43

    WHAT A LOT OF HOGWASH! How could union assets be plundered by employers? Why should the members not vote before Cosatu puts them in the firing line in their war against economic development? Who should decide the public interest then? Cosatu? I don't think so! Why should unions not be fined, if their members, in a strike they called, do damage? I could go on!

  • Godfrey - 2012-04-29 20:44

    Labour Brokers...E-Toll....and now the right to strike....all I can say is "the heat is on"

  • George - 2012-04-29 22:26

    A company, especially a large one has many more resources than an employee seeking justice. A strong union is the only form of defense to bring needed pressure. The law must act against the violent strikers as individuals, it cannot be otherwise. If a company commits fraud is the Chamber of Commerce held accountable? CCMA must serve all employees. Having a R1million income limit makes no sense at all. COSATU deserves support. Most of our workers are vulnerable and underpaid, yet criticized for being uneducated. How can they develop themselves on unsustainable wages?

      Keith - 2012-05-01 10:41

      Underpaid? With municipal workers demanding a R6000 minimum wage, and this will be followed by government employees, how can anyone say they are underpaid. Private businesses do not have a method of increasing revenue as easily as government & municipalities, but they will be forced into the same sort of minimum wage, and bang goes all the small businesses. And lots of jobs.

  • Thouca - 2012-04-29 22:56

    vavi, why dont u just run for presidency?...u seem to have all the answers....

  • Olebogeng - 2012-04-30 06:03

    COSATU WAS IN SUPPORT OF ZUMA NOW HE IS TURNING AGAINST PPLE WHO PUSHED HIM TO DA SEAT OF PRESIDENCY.JUST LIK U DIT IN 2007 1May at Koster wen u took Mbeki lik wise this year.if there is an emergency to get rid of zuma da tym is now.before we become slaves to his government as workers plis.

  • Jasper Coetzee - 2012-04-30 07:21

    Truth from abroad!

  • Alan - 2012-04-30 08:32

    I understand that there have been - and in some cases still are - exploited workers. But over the years, the tables have turned. Now in the majority of cases, it is employers who are exploited. Higher wages are demanded without accompanying productivity. Labour laws strongly biaised in favour of workers make it extremely difficult to fire bad workers. As a result, many businesses have had to close their doors, with hundreds of thousands of people now having NO jobs at all. But Cosatu and the rest of the unions don't care. They take in about R100 MILLION RANDS PER MONTH from workers dues, so are living very nicely indeed, thank you, whilst screwing up SA's competitiveness. Local workers should take a trip to S. Korea and see how people strive to get educated, and what long hours they work. That's what has made S. Korea a success. Unions, however destroy the will to work hard and eventually a country's economy in the long run.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-04-30 09:30

      Workers rights must be protected, but Cosato is an "investment company" and will always protect his "investors" at other's cost.

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