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Final scrutiny of Basic Conditions of Employment Bill before implementation

By sylviahammond, 10 May, 2013

The amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill has been approved by Cabinet and is currently with Parliament awaiting the final stamp of approval before it is implemented into law, said Department of Labour (DoL) Deputy Director-General of Labour Policy & Industrial Relations, Les Kettledas.

Addressing members of the Select Committee on Labour and Public Enterprises in Cape Town today (May 8) Kettledas said once the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) has been approved by Parliament the next focus would be on the Labour Relations Amendment Bill.

He said the other two key pieces of legislation - the Employment Equity Bill and the newly-introduced Employment Services Bill were still at a consultation phase, but would be tabled in Parliament soon.

Some of the legislation under the jurisdiction of DoL that would receive spotlight in the 2013/14 financial year are the amendment to the Unemployment Insurance Act, the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Kettledas also told members of the Select Committee that the department was investigating new areas for sectoral determination (SD) extension to protect the vulnerable workers. He said the department was investigating the introduction of a medical aid for the private security sector among others.

The amendment to the BCEA and the LRA dates back to 1999. The key areas of amendments focused on addressing what is commonly referred to as the phenomenon of labour broking.

The BCEA will protect vulnerable workers earning below the R172 000 thresholds per annum. The new bill proposed that a worker can no longer be employed for more than six months as a temporary worker, but would after six month be treated as full-time worker entitled to same privileges enjoyed by other workers. The bill further proposed that both the client and labour broker would be held liable in a case of a dispute.

Other additional amendments that have been effected to these acts deal with improving the functioning of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), and; fulfill South Africa’s obligations as a member state of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

A key summary of major areas of amendment in the bills include: regulating contract work; addressing the problem of labour broking; dealing with violent strikes and lock-outs; and essential service; organisational rights and collective bargaining; and the power of the Minister in protection of vulnerable workers and child labour; strengthening the inspectorate; and penalties.

Department of Labour Director-General Nkosinathi Nhleko said the department was geared to the continued support, enforcement and implementation of the proposed amendments to existing legislation and the new bills tabled in Parliament.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director-General: Public Employment Services Sam Morotoba said the South African labour market was faced with a number of challenges including the continued unemployment and underemployment of young people and the department through its public entities was responding to the scourge of unemployment.

Morotoba said further details on what the department’s intervention in regard to unemployment would be unveiled by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant when she delivers her budget vote later this month. In the year 2013/14 financial year the department has been allocated R2,4 billion.

Morotoba said there were many other areas of concern but singled out the lack of progress in transformation as evinced by the latest Commission for Employment Equity report which painted ‘a sorry picture’.

Issued  8 May 2013 by: Department of Labour 


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