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Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant

Trade Unions and employers to get briefings on a new minimum wage, BCEA and LRA

The Department of Labour is planning to host a series of sessions country wide to brief trade unions and employers on the implementation of the long-awaited new national minimum wage.

The new national minimum wage policy will be implementation from May 1, 2018.

A key objective of the briefing sessions happens to ensure the minimum wage as a new labour policy intervention instrument is communicated as widely as possible.

The first sessions which start this month [November] are aimed at trade unions followed by another in January 2018 being targeted at employers and other interested parties.

“The Department also wants to inform trade unions about the outcomes of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) process that has focussed on labour market stability measures. Key to this are the amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Labour Relations Act (LRA), the Accord on Collective Bargaining and Industrial Action and a Code of Good Practice,” the  department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The agreed national minimum wage at Nedlac is R20 an hour for major businesses, with the exception of sectors such as farm workers, and domestic workers among others.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Bill, 2017 seeks to introduce amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 consequent upon the enactment of the national minimum wage Act, 2017.

The primary amendments to be introduced relate to the repeal of sections of the Act that associated with provisions dealing with the making of sectoral determinations and the powers and functions of the Employment Conditions Commission.

This include:

  • Monitoring and enforcement by the labour inspectorate to apply to compliance with the national minimum wage and unemployment insurance;
  • Extension of the jurisdiction of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration to include enforcement procedures and claims for underpayment in terms of the BCEA,
  • the national minimum wage,
  • Unemployment insurance legislation, and claims arising from contracts or collective agreements.

The department said other BCEA changes relate to the transitional provisions to regulate sectoral determinations currently in force and to strengthen collective bargaining in respect of the sectors regulated by those determinations.

It added that amendments to the Labour Relations Act relate to the need for introduction of Code of Good Practice on collective bargaining, industrial action and picketing.

“This is designed to strengthen collective bargaining, enhance labour market stability and promote proactive and speedy dispute resolution,” said the department.

The trade union briefing sessions are scheduled to start on November 9, 2017 in Turffontein Race Course, Johannesburg and on November 10, 2017 at Protea Hotel, 390 Lillian Ngoyi Street in Pretoria.

The briefing sessions will be held until the end of February 2018 in all major cities across South Africa.

The briefing sessions will be held from 10:00am-13:00pm.

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