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Department of Labour endorses DA position on strike violence

Ian Ollis, Shadow Minister of Labour
15 November 2011

Today, during a briefing to the Labour Portfolio Committee about the passage of the four controversial labour amendment bills through the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), the Department of Labour (DoL) revealed that it has inserted amendments similar to the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) position on strike violence.

This is a de facto endorsement of a core DA labour policy proposal, and a hugely positive development.

In October 2010, the DA submitted a Private Member’s Bill which proposed that unions be held accountable for their members’ misconduct during strikes. The DA has since used numerous channels to agitate for the adoption of this proposal. Earlier this month, the South African Local Government Association voiced its support for the bill.

At today’s meeting of the portfolio committee, the DoL tabled a document which indicates that strike violence provisions similar to those in the DA’s Private Member’s Bill have been included in the amendment bills currently at NEDLAC. The document explicitly states that the DoL was responsible for the addition of these new amendments.

I will carefully study the next draft of the amendments to the Labour Relations Act when NEDLAC releases them at the end of the month.

With the South African Local Government Association’s and now the DoL’s endorsement of our position on strike violence, a clear coalition of support for this legislative change is emerging from across the political spectrum.

I am immensely pleased with this latest development and the Minister, as well the DoL, is to be commended for taking the broader public interest into consideration and placing these provisions in the amendment bill.