Cosatu doubts effectiveness of strike ballots

Re-introducing a labour law that requires unions to conduct ballots before strikes would likely not solve violent acts, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape said on Thursday.

“You claim that violence in strikes is caused by non-support of the strikers. There are bigger issues here, like “scab” [temporary] labour being introduced [during the strike] and police intervention that is a frustration to many strikers,” Cosatu organiser Mike Louw said.

“To suggest that this ballot is going to cure violence is probably not correct.”

Louw was speaking at the second round of public briefings on amendments to the Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

Chief director of collective bargaining Thembinkosi Mkalipi had said unions would need to conduct ballots to ensure the majority of members agreed on the need to strike.

He said unlawful acts, such as damage to property and violence, in support of industrial action often occurred where only a minority supported the cause for the strike.

The amendments were likely to be tabled in Parliament next week, Mkalipi said.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant submitted the Bills to the Cabinet committee on March 14 and their submission to Parliament was approved the following week.

Briefings would be held across the country until the end of April.—Sapa

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