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News flash: New Mineral Resources Minister wants to amend labour laws when it comes to strikes

by , 13 June 2014
The new Minister of Mineral Resources, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, wants to introduce sweeping changes to the Labour Relations Act (LRA) when it comes to strike action.

The minister's comments come after his failed attempt at ending the 18 week-old platinum strike.

Read on to find out what the Mineral Resources Minister plans to do when it comes to stalled strikes.

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Here's what the Mineral Resources Minister wants to do about prolonged strikes

Earlier this week, Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi set tongues wagging when he revealed proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act that could give government the power to end stalled strikes.

According to Eye Witness News, the minister says government's inability to bring an end to strikes, as damaging as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) strike, is a deficiency in South African law.

Amcu has been on strike over wages since January. The ongoing strike has had a negative impact on the economy. And news reports suggest the industry has lost R21.8 billion in earnings.

The minister told reporters: 'We don't have deadlock-breaking mechanisms as government. If I had that instrument at my disposal, I'm sure I could have unleashed it.'

He added, 'if a strike was to run for six months such as this one, it should be possible for the state to issue an order for the parties to accept a certain settlement.'

So what does this all mean if you're an employer?


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The minister's proposed amendments mean the Department of Labour will have greater powers when it comes to strikes

This basically means government will have the power to tell you and the union to abandon the strike when it's gone on for too long.

This controversial suggestion by the minister has been criticised in some quarters.

The Citizen reports that the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry says changing labour laws to impose a settlement in the platinum mining sector strike isn't a good idea.

'Such a solution would have to be enforced by the police and we have already seen that the relationship between the police and the trade unions is volatile to say the least,' says chamber president Janine Myburgh.

Myburgh added: 'We need a solution that's acceptable to both parties and there are better ways to achieve this.'

The Amcu strike has certainly cast the spotlight on South African labour laws when it comes to strike action. We believe you should watch developments when it comes to the minister's proposed changes because they'll affect your business if they see the light of day. Keep reading FSP Business for updates.

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