Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  26 Sep 2011

LABOUR: The Problem With Labour Laws


Recent Western Cape Business News

THE problem faced by industry in its bid to create more jobs was not South Africa’s labour legislation but the way it was implemented and interpreted,” said Mr Michael Bagraim, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce.

He was speaking at the Job Summit in the Cape Town International Convention Centre yesterday. The summit was organised by the Chamber and Cosatu.

The labour legislation was probably the most sophisticated system in the world but the implementation left much to be desired.

At present there were about 80 cases a day before the Council for Conciliations, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the bargaining councils. This inevitably meant delays and extra costs. He said a few experts to filter cases and advise people against perusing hopeless cases would speed up the process and save a great deal of anguish and costs.

Of great concern was that precedents set in the labour courts had resulted in the shifting of the onus of proof to the employer. Workers who initiated complaints against their employers should be required to substantiate their cases rather than require the employers to disprove their allegations.

I’m sorry to say this, but we also have a problem with some of the adjudicators who do not confine themselves to the law, but allow themselves to be influenced by political factors.”

He knew of four cases this month where adjudicators had taken into account proposed amendments to labour law rather than making their decisions in terms of the law as it now stood.

A major problem was the violence that accompanied strikes. Mr Bagraim suggested that unions should be required to lodge deposits against any damage caused before they started a formal strike.

There was also a need for minimum service agreements in industries which rendered essential services in order to limit the impact of a strike to the industry concerned and avoid more extensive economic damage.

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