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New bill aims to address strike violence

Oct 14 2014 15:30
Donwald Pressly

A Fin24 user sent an image of protesters forcing down a fence during the recent Numsa strike while SAPS officers stand by. (Supplied)

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Cape Town - A bill which would empower courts to award judgments for damages against trade unions that have not implemented measures to limit violence has been submitted to parliament.

DA shadow labour spokesperson Ian Ollis submitted a private members' bill entitled the Labour Relations Amendment Bill 2014 to the office of Baleka Mbete, the speaker of the national assembly.

Ollis said at a media conference at parliament on Tuesday that he expected the majority on the committee from the ruling African National Congress to support the bill - despite fierce opposition from its alliance partner Cosatu to his original bill.

The bill was first introduced in October 2010 by the DA. It received support from the ANC-dominated committee for private members' legislative proposals and petitions of the national assembly. It was the only bill to be accepted by this committee in the fourth parliament in 2011.

"Unfortunately, following the ruling of the constitutional court in Ambrosini v Speaker of the National Assembly which reformed the process for the introduction of Private Members' Bills, our 2010 version... was forced to lapse."

He said the violence seen at a strikes such as the August 2012 Marikana massacre at Lonmin "which resulted in the senseless death of 44 people and prolonged protests in various sectors" created tinderbox situations for violent strike-related damage to people and property.

The bill would require unions to educate workers about violence before their members went on strike. It would further require unions to provide marshals to prevent criminals infiltrating union ranks at rallies and marches.

It would also empower courts to stop a strike that has become excessively violent by forcing the parties into urgent arbitration.

 - Fin24



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