PRETORIA, South African Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant says she intends to use the upcoming Workers’ Month in May to raise awareness levels among workers in the country about their rights and responsibilities.
May marks Workers’ Month, with May 1 officially signalling the start of various campaigns and initiatives to get workers and employers alike more acquainted with the legislation that governs their conduct in the workplace.
Oliphant told a media briefing here Tuesday that therre was a growing appreciation of the large number of workers who do not know their rights and responsibilities and this is what influenced the focus for the month.
[There is a] realisation that in most instances, workers do not fully grasp and leverage the key historic milestones in the various pieces of our labour laws, said Oliphant, who noted that South Africa had sound legislation in place. Our labour laws tick all the right boxes on all fronts and these call for celebration by none other than the workers themselves.
She legislation such as the Labour Relations Act (LRA) made it much easier for unions to obtain rights within organizations.
Commissioners can give majority rights to sufficiently represented unions, who do not have majority representation. In the past, you had to have 50 per cent 1 union representivity to qualify for majority rights, such as the right to union representatives and access to information,” she added.
Now, even if there isn’t 50 per cent 1 representivity, a commissioner can award majority rights to a union that is at least sufficiently represented, where no other union in that workplace already has majority rights.
According to the Department of Labour, 22 years ago, South African workers were subjected to the most brutal labour laws. Domestic and farm workers were not defined as workers and enjoyed no protection from the labour laws of the time, let alone having any benefits. Workers were paid slave wages and could be dismissed without any recourse.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK