Union warns on law changes

2011-01-21 13:13

The Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) is “very concerned” about the low quality of proposed amendments to labour laws.

“When drafting legislation, it is absolutely essential for the text to be as clear and unambiguous as possible,” Fedusa’s chief negotiator on the proposed laws Leon Grobler said in a statement today.

“When dispute resolution agencies (such as the CCMA and courts) have to do their work, they are legally bound to take the literal meaning of concepts and clauses at face value when making judicial decisions.

“In this regard, poorly drafted legislation will certainly cause unnecessary and costly litigation in order to get clarity.”

Fedusa participated in the first round of negotiations on the proposed laws at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

Most of its negotiation team at Nedlac were the same people who negotiated the original labour legislation in the mid-1990s.

“The legislation tabled during the original negotiations back in the nineties was, by many accounts, some of the best in world,” Grobler said.

“We actually set a world standard in labour legislation. This time around the quality of the bills is not acceptable.

There are some typing and stylistic errors, but of most concern is the ambiguity of some of the concepts and seemingly contradictory nature of some of the clauses.”

The next round of negotiations was scheduled for February 3.

On Monday, Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis said the four labour bills were “shockingly badly drafted” and had the potential to cause hundreds of thousands of job losses.

“The four bills that have been announced by the Zuma administration need to be halted in their tracks until the array of problematic provisions they contain are removed,” he said.

Ollis said the bills, if promulgated, would create relatively few new permanent and “potentially unionised” posts, and destroy hundreds of thousands jobs in the South African economy.

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