New labour bills attack workers’ rights and democracy
On 17 November 2017, the Minister of Labour of South Africa announced the state intends to carry out a new round of attacks on workers and their rights. The attacks come in the form of three labour bills currently being considered by parliament: the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill, the National Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill. If passed, the changes to the labour laws these bills propose will be a major attack on workers’ rights, won through decades of struggle, and will further deepen and entrench inequality and roll back important democratic gains.
The government claims the bills are intended to reduce the number of protracted, unprotected and so-called violent strikes. The fact, however, is that these bills are designed to restore and increase bosses’ profits, severely hit by the on-going economic crisis, and attract foreign direct investment by providing ultra-cheap black labour and limiting workers’ ability to strike in defence of their rights and interests.