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Saftu, Numsa threaten mass protests over new labour laws

The federation and its affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) are opposed to the laws which are geared at easing labour relations between employers and workers.

FILE: Saftu workers protest in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday 25 April 2018. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has warned of mass protests over new labour laws that require organised labour to ballot workers before going on strikes.

The federation and its affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) are opposed to the laws which are geared at easing labour relations between employers and workers.

Not only are Numsa and Saftu willing to approach the courts to stop the provisions in the Labour Relations Act they view as unconstitutional but they have promised to mobilise members to take to the streets.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola: "The situation has been made worse by the announcement by the registrar saying that it is illegal for us to embark on any strike until balloting has taken place. The demand for secret balloting, we maintain, has not been properly thought through in terms of the implications practically will mean."

The amendments were enacted in January but only came into effect this month, forcing unions and employers’ organisations to either change their constitutions to accommodate the new provisions or face de-registration.

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