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Numsa, Saftu to challenge labour law compelling them to ballot before striking

Numsa and Saftu were just some of the country’s over 200 labour organisations which must either change their constitutions in line with the strike balloting rules or face deregistration.

Numsa marched to the Public Enterprises Ministry in Pretoria to demand government to save Denel. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Trade unions opposed to the recently effected labour relations laws compelling them to ballot workers before embarking on strikes said they would be challenging the provision in court.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) have described the amendments as being anti-workers, saying they were taking away constitutionally enshrined right to strike.

Numsa and Saftu were just some of the country’s over 200 labour organisations which must either change their constitutions in line with the strike balloting rules or face deregistration.

The contentious section in the Labour Relations Act says balloting must be conducted through a system of secret voting by members of a trade union or employer’s organisations before embarking on a strike.

But Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said they would be challenging this in court.

“We’ve already been engaging our attorneys. We are going to challenge this matter in court. We believe that our constitutional right to strike, which generations of black South African workers fought and died for, is under threat because of this legislation.”

The laws which were implemented in January but only came into effect now, are meant to prevent violent and prolonged strikes.

Last year, research conducted by the World Economic Forum found that South Africa has the worst labour relations in the world.

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