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JOBURG - South Africa cannot have a piece of legislation to advance and protect the exclusive rights of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and big business.
This was Democratic Alliance (DA) mayoral candidate for Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba’s response to a Cosatu statement last week in which the federation said workers should not forget that Mashaba was a supporter and enthusiastic funder of the Free Market Foundation (FMF) which it labelled as an ‘anti-workers crusade’.
On 22 February, the FMF and Mashaba will argue that Section 32 of the Labour Relations Act is unconstitutional when they face off with the government, bargaining councils and Cosatu in the Pretoria High Court. Section 32 currently provides that a collective agreement may not be extended unless a bargaining council has an effective procedure in place to deal with exemption applications by non-parties.
Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the FMF was motivated by pure self-indulgence and profit maximisation and the argument that they wanted to create jobs was a farce. “All they want to is to crush workers’ collective strength so that the employers can reverse the hard-won gains of the workers and enslave them to a future of slave wages and destitution,” he said.
“A vote for Herman Mashaba is a vote for anti-worker policies and for monopoly capital.”
In response, Mashaba said the FMF’s argument was about protecting the constitutional rights of small businesses and the 8.3 million unemployed South Africans. He said, “The country needs small business to help arrest the spiral of the highest unemployment rate in the world, especially affecting our black youths.”
He added that Cosatu, a member of the tripartite alliance, needed to respect the rule of law in the country and allow courts to make the determination on the matter.
“Using threats and intimidation is totally against the spirit of the Constitution,” Mashaba said.
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