Labour Relations Act 28 of 1956 includes as one of the aims of the Act, the prevention and settlement of disputes between employers and employees. Industrial councils were the primary institution for collective bargaining; generally they were system that involved a form of centralised bargaining in a particular industry or segment of an industry (Alan Rycroft, Barney Jordaan, 1992:146)
Industrial councils consisted of representatives from one or more employer parties and one or more employee parties who as a whole enjoy representation on the council.
Statutory councils were formed as a result of a compromise between government and big unions to satisfy the governments fear that the bargaining council system would not do enough to promote centralised bargaining (Grogan, 2003: 303). Statutory councils are can be registered by a trade union or two or more registered trade unions acting together, these trade union and employers organisations must have 30 percent representation in a sector or area in which there is no bargaining council. Statutory Councils can also be describe as the “mini-version” of a Bargaining Council, which are much easier to form than a Bargaining council, because less representation is required by the parties. Sectors and areas where no bargaining council exits may be allowed to establish a statutory council. This is based on Legislation in Section 39, of the Labour Relations Act The main difference between the bargaining council and the statutory councils is that parties, meaning unions or employer can be forced to become members of statutory councils by ministerial order. This can only be done in the absence of an agreement. Statutory councils may be formed by registered trade unions and employers’ organisations to manage labour disputes, schemes and funds, education and training, and to make collective agreements. Statutory Councils can negotiate education and training, benefit funds and dispute resolution in the sector. In Statutory Councils, employers are not forced to negotiate over wages and conditions of employment. At present in South Africa (2011) only one statutory council has been created; this is in the Printing and Packaging Industry.
ESTABLISHMENT AND REGISTRATION OF STATUTORY COUNCILS
(check website about industrial councils)
Section 40 of the LRA requires that registered trade unions and employer organisation in a specific sector and area are invited by a notice in the Government Gazette to attend a meeting are also required to invite nominations for representatives on the statutory council. The meeting is chaired by a commissioner, this is where the parties discuss and agree on the formulation of statutory council and the constitution. This must be concluded by all parties in the meeting. The council will only be registered if the minister is satisfied that interested parties have been included and the constitution meets the requirements of the Act. The minister advices the registrar to register the council. This is done by entering its name in the register of councils; a certificate of registration is issued. The registered certificate determines the scope of the council. In a case where no agreement is concluded by all parties involve the Minister must admit parties to the statutory council. To do that the Minister looks at the number of representatives, proportional representation and the interest of small and medium enterprises. Statutory councils are allowed to change their status by applying to the Registrar to be registered as a bargaining council. This is supported by section 48(1) of the Labour Relations Act.
POWER AND FUNCTIONS OF STATUTORY COUNCILS
Chapter III: Collective Bargaining, of the Labour Relations Act No. 66 of 1995 lists the powers and functions of the statutory councils. This is found on Part E: Statutory Councils, section 43. Powers and functions of statutory councils list the function as follows: a) to perform the dispute...
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