Parliament continues to improve the legislative landscape to consolidate workers’ victories and rights

The National Assembly, during its plenary sitting on Tuesday afternoon, passed the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill and the Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill. These Bills will now go to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

Parliament continues to improve the legislative landscape to consolidate workers’ victories and rights. As we conclude commemorations for Workers Month – during the year in which we also mark the 100th birthday of the founding president of democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela – Parliament has amended two existing laws, while also considering a new one to ensure that the laws governing employer-employee relations in South Africa further bolster the successes achieved since the advent of democracy in 1994.

The National Minimum Wage Bill – a new Bill introduced by the Minister of Labour in November last year – aims to provide for a National Minimum Wage and establishment of the National Minimum Wage Commission, with clear functions and composition. Once passed into law, it will advance economic development and social justice by improving the wages of the lowest paid workers, protecting them from unreasonably low wages, promoting collective bargaining and supporting economic policy. It will ensure that the pervasive, entrenched exploitation of workers in various sectors of the economy is put to a stop.

The two Acts being amended are the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA). Amendments to the BCEA seek to repeal provisions dealing with sectoral determinations and the Employment Conditions Commission and to provide for daily wage payments applicable to certain employees, among other matters. Proposed amendments to the LRA include, amending section 32 of the Act to provide for the process and criteria for extending bargaining agreements to non-parties by the Minister of Labour.

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