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Role of Collective Bargaining in Causes of Prolonged Strikes and Picketing

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INTRODUCTION

In my assignment I will discuss the following keywords:

Collective Bargaining; Industrial Action and Picketing. I will go in detail by defining some of the keywords and check the causes of prolonged strikes, the impact of strikes to the strikers, organisations, the small businesses that provide service to the community as well as to the families of the strikers.

Measures that can be taken to avoid violent strikes. The major factors that contribute to prolonged and violent strikes. I will also include the importance of an accord to collective bargaining and industrial action.

Definition of Collective Bargaining-

It is the process by which a labor union and employer negotiate over the terms of the employment relationship. The primary goal of Collective Bargaining is the achievement of a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the employer, this includes salaries, working conditions, benefits, and other aspects of workers’ compensation and rights for workers. The union here is the mouth for a group of employees employed by the employer.

John Grogan defines Collective Bargaining as a largely adversarial process allowing employer and employee to collectively pursue to resolve conflicting goals and reach an agreement.

The collective Bargaining process may be established institutionally, by agreement, or in practice. The Act provides an institutional form for sectoral bargaining in the form of bargaining councils by providing machinery for the voluntary establishment of a bargaining council by trade unions and employer organizations in a sector and their registration as such by the Registrar of Labour Relations if their constitution provides for the scope, membership, governance, the negotiation of collective agreements and dispute procedures in accordance with the Act.

Definition of Industrial Action-

Steps were taken by workers such as strikes to enforce their demands or to press addressing of their grievances. Industrial Action is protected by the Constitution as well as the Labour Relations Act, but there are substantive and procedural requirements that must be followed by strikers. 

Section 23 of the Constitution is edifying:

  1. Everyone has the right to fair labor practices.
  2. Every worker has the right to:
  • To form and join a trade union;
  • To participate in the activities and programs of a trade union; and
  • To strike.

Definition of Picketing-

It is a form of protest in which people congregate outside a place of work or location where the event is taking place. Most of the time the workers prefer Picketing in order to disturb those workers who are not interested to strike or at times they prefer it just to draw the attention of the public. Section 17 of the Constitution recognizes the right to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and present petitions. This Constitutional right can only be exercised peacefully and unarmed.

Agreed picketing rules-

  1. 1. A registered trade union and employer or employer organization should seek to conclude a collective agreement on standing picketing rules to regulate pickets in support of a protected strike or in opposition to lockout.
  2. 2. The following matters should be considered in such a collective agreement:
  • The nature of the authorization and its service upon the employer;
  • The notice of the commencement of the picket including the place, time and the extent of the picket;
  • The nature of the conduct in the picket;
  • The number of picketers and their location;
  • The modes of communication between marshals and employers and any other relevant parties;
  • The conduct of the pickets on the employer’s premises; and
  • This code of good practice and the default picketing rules annexed to this code. If the parties to the dispute giving rise to a protected strike or lockout have not concluded a collective agreement regulating pickets, the parties must endeavour to agree picketing rules before the commencement of the protected strike or lockout.

1.1 The question that was asked to me is whether I agree with the impact that is caused by prolonged and violent strikes?

The answer to the aforementioned question is yes.

Prolonged strikes hurt both the employer and employees and also have a negative impact on the country’s economy. Employers and employees suffer the same costs; employers lose income while employees lose wages, which is hard to recover after the prolonged industrial action

In July 2017, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) delivered an Accord on Collective Bargaining and Industrial Action. Accord’s primary aim is to influence political developments by bringing conflict resolution, dialogue, and institutional development to the forefront as an alternative to armed violence and protracted conflict. Accord specializes in conflict management, conflict analyses, and conflict prevention

The Parties and signatories to this Accord committed themselves and their members to this Accord.

  1. NEDLAC constituencies
  2. The trade unions
  3. The employer
  4. Government
  5. Agencies

The aforementioned parties have different roles to play here to make sure that everything is in order or going the way they agreed on. I think the Marikana strike left everybody in a bad state, let alone their families, and the manner in which the police conducted themselves including the workers who were in the position of dangerous weapons.

The roles of the South African Police Service (SAPS) include ensuring sufficient capacity and that its members assigned to monitor strikes, lockouts, pickets, and protest action are trained in public order policing. To make sure that they refrain from acting in a manner that escalates the conflict and will only use minimum force and make use of non-lethal weapons to prevent or respond to breaches of the codes.

The unions are playing their role on behalf of the workers, they must make sure that there is no violence, intimidation, and damage to property and, if that happens, they must take all the steps necessary to discourage such conduct and comply with a court order interdicting the violence, intimidation or damage to property. In my opinion, I think strike violence is still a concerning factor, I mean we saw flames on fees must fall, the violence of students, damaging the properties of the institution, intimidating the securities, they even shattered them.

1.2 Major factors contributing to prolonged and violent strikes-

  • Wages
  • Unemployment, Inequality, and Poverty

The impact of wages in the prolonged strike, we saw it in the Marikana strike where the employees in Lonmin platinum mine embarked on a wildcat strike, an unprotected strike for an increase in wages from 09 August 2012 the strike lasted until the 16th of August 2012. Police opened fire on mine workers living 34 mineworkers dead and 78 were badly injured.

The strike of Marikana left everybody in the Country in a bad state, I think that is the reason as to why an Accord came to effect in 2017. The behavior of the South African Police Service (SAPS) shocked everybody, and now with measures in place in an Accord, they know exactly what is expected of them.

In 2010 it was recorded that 1,2 million public sector employees embarked on strike action in support of wage demands. The strike continued for three weeks and settled following interventions by their respective union leaders. A significant number of strikers were essential service workers, despite 65 of the LRA which prohibits the strikes and lock-outs in essential services. 

For the first time National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC), multilateral negotiations in the National Minimum Wage (NMW), was implemented in May 2018. The aim of the minimum wage is to reduce inequality, especially from employees who are doing the same job but getting different wages. The NMW was pronounced that, workers will receive a minimum of R20.00 per hour and that amounts to R3500.00 per month for someone who works 40-hours per week and so on.

Unemployment is affecting the majority of the population and spreading inequality between rich and poor. Unemployment affects those who are working even more than those unemployed because those who are working or employed are taking responsibility for those unemployed families.

Poverty can lead to strike action, because employees may demand an increase on their wages, because of the load they are having, I mean supporting those family members who are not working is not an easy task. Nelson Mandela, he once quoted that, ‘Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom’.

The latest publication from Statistics of South Africa (Stats SA) shows that the unemployment rate went up to 29.1% from the last quarter of 2019, meaning that our government needs to wake up and start implementing than just promising.

1.3 Measures that the Code proposes to “promote orderly and effect collective bargaining”.

1.3.1 Promotion of collecting bargaining

a) ILO Convention 98 on Collective Bargaining requires the government to take measures appropriate to national conditions to encourage and promote the full development and utilization of machinery for voluntary negotiation between employers or employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations, with a view to the regulation of terms and conditions of employment by means of collecting agreements.

b) The Act promotes collective bargaining in a number of ways by:

  • Encouraging collective bargaining at sectoral level by providing a statutory framework for collective bargaining in the form of bargaining council;
  • Permitting collective bargaining in single and multi-employer workplaces;
  • Providing for organisational rights at the level of the workplace.

c) The Government and the federations of trade unions and employer organizations in NEDLAC undertake to engage on a periodic basis to develop legislative and other measures to promote collective bargaining at centralized, sectoral, and workplace levels and to deepen the representativeness of trade unions and employer organizations.

1.3.2 Principles of good faith bargaining

i. Every trade union, employer, employers’ organization, and the negotiators appointed to represent them commit themselves to adhere to the principles of good faith bargaining and mutual respect set out below.

ii. Disclosure of information is essential for the trade union to effectively engage in collective bargaining. All relevant information should be disclosed to the trade union on request and subject to confidentiality.

iii. All demands and responses to those demands from a party should be in writing.

iv. A party may only add a new demand during the course of negotiations if the new demand is introduced for the purpose of finding a settlement and only with the agreement of the other party.

v. And the employer should not unilaterally alter terms and conditions of employment during the course of negotiations prior to the deadlock being reached in terms of any collectively agreed dispute procedure, failing which, when a period of 30 (thirty) days has elapsed after the referral of the dispute the CCMA or Bargaining Council, or a certificate of non-resolution has been issued.

1.3.3 Development and support for negotiators

Parties to collective bargaining under the Act commit themselves and their members to develop competent negotiators to engage in collective bargaining by:

  • Supporting the establishment of training courses on this Code by recognized training institutions to train negotiators in collective bargaining; and
  • Requiring negotiators to undergo such training.

1.3.4 Preparing for negotiations

Subject to the democratic procedures contained in the collective agreement or the constitutions of trade unions and employers’ organizations, their respective leaderships should in preparation for the union’s or employer or employers’ organizations’ demands or responses to the extent that it is necessary:

  • To conduct proper research into the state of the economy, sector, and ability of individual employers, particularly small, medium and micro-enterprises and new enterprises, the cost of living, the alleviation of poverty and reduction of wage differentials and inequality.
  • To determine whether there’s a need for disclosure of information in order to prepare a demand or response.

1.3.5 Submission of demands and responses

A party should submit its demands in writing or in accordance with any agreed negotiation procedure or practice and in good time and well in advance of any established implementation date.

Conclusion

In things discussed above, I have noticed the importance of Collective Bargaining among parties involved and the commitment of the parties to those agreements reached. The importance of the LRA as well as the Constitution at large. The impact of Industrial Action and the role that is played by inequality, especially on wages.

Bibliography

Articles

  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org>wiki
  2. https://www.accord.org.za
  3. https://www.vukuzenzele.gov.za
  4. John Grogan, Workplace Law, Juta Law, 2001.
  5. Mandela N (speech delivered in Johannesburg, 2 July 2005).
  6. Marikana Massacre’ available at https://www.sahistory.org.za/article marikana-masscre-16 Aug-2012 (accessed on the 28th Aug 2020).
  7. National Minimum Wage Bill 2017.
  8. www.businessdictionary.com.

Other Source(s)

  1. Statistics South Africa, Quarterly Labour Force Survey, Quarter 3 of 2019.

Statute

  1. Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995, Pretoria: Government Printer.
  2. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, 14th Edition.

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Role of Collective Bargaining in Causes of Prolonged Strikes and Picketing. (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/role-of-collective-bargaining-in-causes-of-prolonged-strikes-and-picketing/
“Role of Collective Bargaining in Causes of Prolonged Strikes and Picketing.” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/role-of-collective-bargaining-in-causes-of-prolonged-strikes-and-picketing/
Role of Collective Bargaining in Causes of Prolonged Strikes and Picketing. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/role-of-collective-bargaining-in-causes-of-prolonged-strikes-and-picketing/> [Accessed 16 Aug. 2022].
Role of Collective Bargaining in Causes of Prolonged Strikes and Picketing [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 May 24 [cited 2022 Aug 16]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/role-of-collective-bargaining-in-causes-of-prolonged-strikes-and-picketing/
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