Parliamentary Question: DoL: Trade Union leadership

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2360. MR S Z NTAPANE (UDM) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF LABOUR:

Whether she has taken any steps to ensure firm trade union leadership (details furnished) during industrial strikes in order to prevent (a) lawlessness, (b) violence and (c) public disorder; if not, why not; if so, (i) what steps and (ii) are the further relevant details?

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR REPLIED:

The Honourable member is advised that my Department is amending the Labour Relations Act, Act 66 of 1995. The intention of amending section 150 of the Labour Relations Act is precisely to allow the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to intervene in these kinds of disputes to endeavour to find a resolution speedily so as to minimise industrial actions.

It should be noted that the labour laws that regulate the right to strike also discourage and do not protect workers who get involved in acts of violence during industrial action. The Labour Relations Act does not protect criminal activities perpetrated under the guise of industrial action. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights states that although everyone has a right to assemble; demonstrate; and picket, it must be peaceful and unarmed. Everyone has a right to life and to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources. In instances where a strike takes the form of malicious damage to property, assault on non-striking employees and public violence, the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) has a constitutional duty to uphold the law and to protect property and lives. We all agree that acts of violence and intimidation during strikes are not acceptable.



I belief that the Honourable member will appreciate that I have personally made an impassionate plea to the social partners to do more in marshaling their members during industrial action and to respect the right of non-strikers and public property.