DA pushes non-strikers bill

2011-07-06 21:40

Johannesburg - Alleged violence during the public sector strike this week has prompted the Democratic Alliance to push harder for the tabling of the Private Members' Legislative Proposal in Parliament.

"In light of continuing lawlessness and violence during public sector strike, the DA will be increasing its efforts to ensure that this bill is tabled," MP Ian Ollis said.

The proposal, which was submitted to Parliament by the DA in October, sought to protect non-striking workers and the public from violence and intimidation, and to protect public and private property from malicious destruction during strike action.

The legislation, if passed, would make unions liable for penalties and damages for the undisciplined behaviour of individual members.

Such penalties would be imposed on unions, or any party to a strike, if the prescribed good practice was not followed during a legitimate industrial action.

Ollis said on Wednesday that the party was concerned about media reports of many incidents of violence and intimidation, particularly on the East Rand.

"These include stone-throwing, widespread damage to property and intimidation of non-strikers.

"The DA fully supports the constitutional right of workers to strike... However, this right should never infringe the rights of others, and violent behaviour during strike action should not be condoned or tolerated."

Brandishing a gun

The Star reported that a non-striking worker was assaulted with a knobkerrie in the Devland industrial area, near Soweto, on Tuesday where metalworkers were striking. This could not be confirmed by the police.

Ollis said a picture on the IOL website of a protester in Congress of SA Trade Union (Cosatu) colours brandishing a gun was irresponsible and dangerous, and amounted to incitement of violence.

"Cosatu needs to ensure that its marshals are doing their jobs by educating workers on how to conduct themselves during strike action. It would appear from the recent violence that they are not doing enough in this regard," Ollis said in a statement.

Cosatu condemned violence and intimidation, said spokesperson Patrick Craven.

"In general, Cosatu activities have always been peaceful, disciplined, orderly and legal. We always do everything we can to maintain that tradition.

"Unfortunately, there are sometimes people involved in demonstrations who are not subject to our discipline and we totally reject the view that trade unions must be held liable for damage done by members of the public who are not part of the Cosatu protest," he said.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA believed the unconfirmed reports of intimidation and violence were an attempt by "some elements" to sabotage the strike action.

"Numsa is not a union of hooligans. We have disciplined and organised members," said spokesperson Castro Ngobese.

"We are not going to allow anyone to undermine our organised, united strike," he said.

  • Digit - 2011-07-06 22:09

    Absolutely .... only, The ANC and affiliated bodies then have to take responsibility for the actions of others (their electorate).... tough call, as they can hardly take responsibility for themselves ..... This is where the problem lies ... they do not want to police their actions ...... They will tell you loud and far "Numsa (substitute and group here) is not a union of hooligans. We have disciplined and organised members" and "We are not going to allow anyone to undermine our organised, united strike" .... the bit left out is .... "Just as long as we do not have to police the protest and be responsible for it" ...... The chaos element is just what brings the TV Cameras and media, affording them media exposure. Then, of course, all the disgusted remarks from the Tax Paying public who are seeing their tax money destroyed ...... by those who do not pay any taxes .....

      E.Nuff - 2011-07-07 07:19

      If the union has disciplined and organised members who are not violent and destructive, then why oppose such legislation? If they are correct in their assertion, then they have nothing to fear.

  • Democrat - 2011-07-06 22:18

    Very few strikes are peaceful. Most are associated with intimidation, violence and damage to private property. Cosatu knows this, so to condemn the violence is disingenuous. They should encourage more constructive forms of protest and take strong action against their members who violate the rights of others and break the law.

  • Mad Dog - 2011-07-06 22:21

    Craven is just that... craven!

  • phillie - 2011-07-06 22:56

    "In general, Cosatu activities have always been peaceful, disciplined, orderly and legal. We always do everything we can to maintain that tradition." Does this asshooool possess a TV ??? Or doesn't he have time to watch the news being so busy writing drivel statements!!!!!!!

  • Left Screwed - 2011-07-06 23:23

    The ANC won't let that happen as these same people are their voters. To: Castro Ngobese, when last were you in Isando overseeing you members.

  • BMFree - 2011-07-07 01:06

    Graet sentiment but as left said the protesters are the voters.I doubt that the ANC will antagenise their suporters by inforcing existing laws never mind new ones.

  • CalmAfrican - 2011-07-07 03:18

    Majority of union members were all going to support the strike, if they voted in favour of it in the first place.It also makes sense to expect the members to defend their gains if the leadership is still representing the constituency. When there is no such connection, then strikers and non-strikers are just desperate participants in an unfortunate relationship. Had the unions been stronger, they were just going to expel the non-striking members period. They do not because they want subscriptions. The law is suppossed to make it illegal for the union member( whose union is on protected strike) not to strike.

  • Saamprater - 2011-07-07 06:11

    Oh yes Castro, and you all have cake and tea when you take a break. We all know as well as you do that you incite violence to get your ways because democracy isn't your agenda, its the demolishing of business. You and your buddies still "don't know that you don't know"

  • DEVILS SON - 2011-07-07 07:28

    no ways, i think striking is fair, but as soon as one report of violence or intimidation occur the strike should be declared illigal and the person leading the union should be jailed for 60 days. workers not back at graft the following day should be fired

  • Gary - 2011-07-07 08:04

    About time, the uniouns think they can do as they please...

  • ITpro - 2011-07-07 08:35

    What they need to do is take the annual increase that is agreed upon, refund the people/companies that their members did damage to, and then give them the remainder of the money. This way they will think twice to damage property.

      PB - 2011-07-07 09:49

      That might get the basic principle of Cause and Effect through their thick sculls.

  • Smaal - 2011-07-07 08:55

    I don’t think I’ve ever read so many contradictory rubbish in one report. The unions do intimidate, they do kill, they do destroy public property and they are hooligans! Ask anyone except the unions!

  • Shadoz - 2011-07-07 09:30

    I think this bill will do a lot of good. But i don't think they will ever pass it as the unions are to close to the ANC and they own most of the seats.

  • PhilaG - 2011-07-07 09:31

    you jus gotta love the DA...they jus make so much sense in everything they do..

  • theratlady - 2011-07-07 10:19

    may God bless the DA in its effort to bring a spirit of righteousness into this country.

  • youngSAdude - 2011-07-07 11:56

    This is brilliant. If the Unions are truly committed to peaceful and legal strike actions, then they shan't oppose this bill. If there are people that do not belong to the union and show up just to incite violence then they must be rooted out. If there is damage to public/private property as a result of unruly behaviour then the unions should DEFINITELY be held accountable for disciplining their members. IMO if the unions oppose this bill then they are not taking their role seriously.

  • Willem van Rensburg - 2011-07-07 13:08

    The Unions should put down a deposit when approval for a march is requested, so that if their members misbehave this fund can be used to pay for damages. The Unions always say it is not of their doing, but every time there is strike action there is damage. If a deposit is charged they might just make sure that their members behave.

  • The Observer - 2011-07-07 13:50

    Easy. Ban trade unions. And o my soul "Numsa is not a union of hooligans. We have disciplined and organised members". hahahaha, sorry my friend your members beg to differ, just switch your telly on at night. O and go look at previous strikes, same old same old I'm afraid. F*kken p*epolle wat hulle eie stront nog glo ook. Bannana is al wat ek kan se.

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