Regulations requiring secret ballots for strikes imminent

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Once the transitional provision comes to an end, the might of the law will take its course.

South African unions and employer organisations have six months to make the necessary amendments to their constitutions to comply with a new requirement that decisions to strike should be determined via secret ballot, the labour department has said.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant published the balloting guidelines issued in terms of the Labour Relations Act in December.

“Once the 180-day transitional provision ends, the law will have to take its course,” said Lehlohonolo Molefe, the labour relations registrar at the department of labour.

The guidelines compel every trade union or employer’s organisation to conduct a ballot of members before calling for a strike or lockout and spell out, among others, the voting system, member rights in regard to failure or refusal to participate, a requirement for a trade union to obtain the consent of the employer to hold a ballot and procedures to be followed when conducting a secret ballot.

Molefe said his office would embark on advocacy sessions with trade unions and employer organisations.

“We have written letters to unions and employers of our intention to engage with them. Once the transitional provision comes to an end, the might of the law will take its course,” he said.

Those not compliant with the new regulations would face penalties including deregistration and being placed on administration, Molefe added.

– African News Agency

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