How the labour laws were amended in South Africa
2. Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, 2010
- Changes to the power of the Minister – Amendments are proposed to give the minister the power to prescribe thresholds of representativeness of a trade union to have the organizational rights of access to employer premises. This is intended to apply to situations where unionisation is difficult but where a more flexible threshold may facilitate unionisation within a sector or area.
Further amendments in this regard propose that the minister could set increases to actual wages instead of minimum wages for vulnerable workers in sectoral determinations
A proposed enabling provision in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act will provide the Minister with the power to determine the conditions of labour tenants.
- Child labour – Amendments are proposed to align the Basic Conditions of Employment Act with South Africa’s international law obligations in terms of the International Labour Organisation Convention (No. 182) on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
- Strengthening the power of the inspectorate – Contraventions of certain provisions in monitoring and enforcement of the Act are criminalised which will enhance the effectiveness of the inspectorate. The Bill further seeks to impose heavy penalties for offences and contraventions of the provisions of the Act as well as increased prison terms for employers that do not comply.
3. Employment Equity Amendment Bill, 2010
- Equal pay for work of equal value – A new clause is introduced which seeks to prohibit abusive practices by ensuring that employees who work for the same employer receive the same pay as other employees doing the same or substantially the same work. This amendment is necessary to ensure compliance with the International Labour Organisation’s conventions that deal with discrimination, namely Convention 100 Equal Remuneration Convention and Convention 111 Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention.
- Strengthening enforcement and compliance – To strengthen the enforcement mechanisms of the Act, amendments are proposed which empower the Director-General to impose fines on non-complying employers as a percentage of the annual turnover of the company, at two percent for first contraventions, escalating to a maximum of ten percent for repeated contraventions.