SOUTH AFRICAN UNION REJECTS PROPOSED LABOUR LAW CHANGES WHICH LIMIT RIGHT RO STRIKE

JOHANNESBURG, The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the country's biggest single trade union with a membership of more than 300,000, has rejected proposed changes to the country's labour laws which it says will limit the right to strike.

The government intends to implement changes to the Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) in 2018. It also plans to implement a national minimum wage Bill, setting an amount of 20 Rand (about 1.60 US dollars) per hour.

The Department of Labour has been holding public consultations on these proposals and set Jan 10 as the deadline for submissions on the proposed changes. The proposals are in response to numerous strikes which have hit the economy in recent years, as unions press for wage hikes and allowances which companies have often rejected as too steep.

Together, these changes are an attack on the working class and their families because they reduce the hard-won rights which workers fought and died for under apartheid, Numsa said in a statement Tuesday.

Among other concerns, the union said the proposal to hold secret ballots during strikes was a cleverly disguised way of attacking our constitutional right to strike.

It also rejected the provision for the Minister of Labour to have the power to obtain a court interdict to suspend a lengthy strike, and said the proposed national minimum wage of R20 per hour would do little to reduce the racial wage gaps, which mostly favour whites, created by decades of apartheid rule.

Numsa demands a living wage, not just a minimum wage, it said. A NMW of R20 per hour does not even begin to bridge the unequal wage gap between the African majority and the white minority.

Numsa said it was calling on all working class formations and structures to reject and fight this assault on the working class.

The struggle for a dignified living wage, and the battle to defend our rights will not be won in public hearings. It will be won by the working class in action, on the streets, united in its demands, Numsa said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK