The National Assembly on Tuesday passed four historic and contentious labour bills that set a new standard for the national minimum wage and outline new criteria for embarking on protected strike action.
Passed by a majority vote mostly made up of ANC MPs, the assembly passed the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill and the Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill.
These bills will now go to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.
Here is everything you need to know:
Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill
The amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act seek to repeal provisions dealing with sectoral determinations and the Employment Conditions Commission and to provide for daily wage payments applicable to certain employees, among other matters.
The bill also deals with the extension of bargaining council agreements.
Labour Relations Amendment Bill
Proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act include amending section 32 of the act to provide for the process and criteria for extending bargaining agreements to nonparties. Basically, it seeks to reinforce collective bargaining by giving power to the labour minister to extend collective agreements where groups of workers do not make up a majority, or 51 percent of their sector but are adequately represented in that sector.
It is believed the bill will also restrict picketing and provides for a secret ballot before strike action. Critics, such as the South African Federation of Trade Unions, believe it will collapse workers' rights to strike.
National Minimum Wage Bill
The National Minimum Wage Bill sets the minimum wage at R20 per hour or R3,500 per month. It also makes provisions for wages earned by domestic workers and farm workers, setting these at R15 and R18 per hour, respectively. However, these amounts will be adjusted.
The bill is highly contentious. Those in support of it believe it will reduce inequality, bridge South Africa's wage gap and grow the economy. However, critics say it will increase unemployment because employers will be unable to afford to pay workers.
Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill
This bill provides for the establishment of a Communal Property Associations Office and the appointment of a Registrar of Communal Property Associations. The bill also provides clarity on the objectives of communal property associations and aims to extend the application of the act to certain labour tenants who acquired land.
It also provides for the improved protection of the rights of communities in respect of movable and immovable property administered by an association.