The DA notes the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) response to the DA’s call for its public support of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill 2014, which seeks to curtail the strike related violence that continues to negatively affect all South Africans.
In a feeble and deflective response, NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni stated that the union “would never support the opportunistic DA”, claiming that NUM has been a victim of strike related violence since 2012, making constant calls for peace and stability in industrial relations, while the DA has been silent on the matter.
This is simply not true. As early as October 2010, the DA submitted an identical version of the current Labour Relations Amendment Bill 2014. It was gly criticised by both Cosatu and the SACP.
Moreover, in July 2011, following the continuous lawlessness and violence that occurred during public sector strikes, the DA increased its efforts to ensure that the bill was tabled, urging unions to support the bill. Predictably, nothing came of this call.
Strike violence incidents continued to rise during the time in which the DA was forced into a fight for the bill to be passed.
According the SAIRR 2013 South African Survey, between 2010 and 2012 strike related fatalities increased from 7 to 60 injuries increased from 31 to 150 and arrests increased from 271 to 643. What were the unions doing to stop this disproportionate rise in violence?
Not only is NUM’s response factually incorrect, it also highlights the fact that unions affiliated with Cosatu are simply not interested in combating strike related violence. Cosatu’s 2012 Workers Survey found that half of its members viewed violence by workers as necessary during a strike if a desired result is to be achieved.
The DA’s position is clear – if union bosses agree that strikers must be orderly and peaceful, then they should have no problem signing onto legislation that seeks to further this aim.
Until NUM – and in fact all Cosatu affiliates – come out in support of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill 2014, their anti-violence rhetoric can be dismissed as nothing more than opportunistic.
Shadow Minister of Labour
Source : Democratic Alliance