25 March 2019


Parliament salutes SA workers

by: Semphete Correspondent   date: 04 May 2018

Great strides have been made since 1994 to transform the
labour legislative landscape in South Africa to eliminate
restrictive and oppressive labour laws.
This was to ensure progressive laws that guarantees inalienable rights such
as freedom of association, collective bargaining, right to strike and workplace
freedom. This was the observation by Parliament’s Presiding Officers – Speaker
Baleka Mbete and Chairperson of the
National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Thandi Modise.
They shared their observation as South
Africa joined the world to celebrate Workers’
“While we recognise these strides in the last 24 years, the Presiding Officers of
Parliament acknowledge that more still needs to be done to ensure that South
Africa’s working class truly enjoys the fruits of our maturing democracy whose
anniversary our nation celebrated a few days ago. South Africans are obliged by
our political history to work together, united in their diversity, to build a better country,
to build an economy that takes care of
its people by absorbing more people into the labour market, guaranteeing their job
security, decent wages and labour rights.
The objectives and goals of the Freedom
Charter and the National Development Plan, of a truly non-racial, non-sexist
and prosperous nation, requires united
efforts towards their fulfillment,” the Presiding Officers said.
They said South Africa’s battle for better
and improved rights in the workplace, which were intertwined with the struggle
for social justice, freedom and democracy,
has come a long way.
“Parliament continues to improve the
legislative landscape to consolidate workers’
victories and rights. As we commemorate May Day during the year in which
we mark the 100 birthday of the founding
president of our democratic South Africa
Nelson Mandela, Parliament is amending two existing legislations while also introducing
two more to ensure that the laws governing the employer and employee
relations in South Africa further bolster the successes that we have achieved
since the advent of democracy in 1994.
The new National Minimum Wage Bill, introduced by the Minister of Labour in November
last year aims to provide for the national minimum wage and the establishment
of the National Minimum Wage
Commission with clear functions and composition,” Mbete and Modise said.
They added that once passed into a law,
the Bill will advance economic development
and social justice by improving the wages of lowest paid workers, protecting
them from unreasonably low wages and promoting collective bargaining as well
as supporting economic policy.
The other new Bill, the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, is a Private Member’s
Bill that was drafted in line with the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP)
policy on family values.
“It deals with parental leave and also provides for adoption and surrogacy
leave and it is drafted to ensure harmony
with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and to ensure the provisions

contained in the Bill pass Constitutional muster. The two Acts that are being
amended are the BCEA and the Labour Relations Act (LRA). The amendments to
the BCEA seeks to repeal the provisions dealing with sectoral determinations and
the Employment Conditions Commission and provide for daily wage payments applicable to certain employees, amongst
others. Proposed amendments to the LRA includes, amongst others, amending
section 32 of the Act to provide for the process and criteria for the extension of
bargaining agreements to non-parties by the Minister of Labour,” they said.
The Presiding Officers said in processing these laws, Parliament is clearly putting to expression its commitment to
“Learning from Madiba” – its theme for this year – by passing laws that aim to
unlock bottlenecks and tackle the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and
unemployment consistent with the aspiration
of those who fought for our democracy.