– by Noluthando Makhaza
According to Section 14 of the Labour Relations Act, shop stewards and union representatives are tasked with the responsibility to assist and represent employees at grievance and disciplinary proceedings, at their request. Although duties might be unique as per the several trade unions, they all possess a similar mandate, which is to speak and act on behalf of the workers, representing their best interests in a profound and professional manner. With the slogan “Future of Work”, worker leaders, human officials, shop stewards, and commissioners from across the country recently gathered for their second annual CCMA Conference, held at the Greyville Racecourse, Durban. UEL was honoured to be part of such a revolutionary plenary.
Setting the scene, purpose and theme of the conference, CCMA Director, Mr Cameron Sello Morajane, encouraged worker leaders to be driven by the past and current situation of the workers of this country. He stated that “the topic ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ was added onto the programme because fundamentally as an institution of dispute resolution CCMA has the duty to make sure that everyone, including commissioners who have previously represented workers and businesses, understands what this era entails. If you are not doing that then you are killing the future of work and you are not the type of leader required to represent workers”.
This 2-day conference made provision for several guest speakers to share their thoughts on eight relevant and burning plenary topics which allowed for detailed discussions and constructive debates. The topics included: Collective Bargaining Strategies; Collective Bargaining Tactics; Wage trends; Conditions of Employment; and an investigation into the causes of violent strikes in South Africa (Lessons learnt and possible solutions). Leading the latter discussion topic was our very own Dr Mlungisi Earnest Tenza: Researcher and Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal. He highlighted that if a ballot requirement can be a solution to strike violence, then a proposal to amend the LRA has to be considered by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) and a Bill introduced in Parliament. If legislated, any failure to comply with the ballot requirement will render the strike unprotected and the consequences that flow from an unprotected strike will have to follow.
UEL staff members were present, providing more information on the various short programmes on offer, especially the Law and Management & Leadership programmes. The delegates showed great interests in our Labour Law certificates due to the relevance to their current work and desired skills enhancement. Through lifelong learning and skills development short programmes, the future of work is definitely something to look forward to, as our open and custom programmes promote and inspire change in the workplace.
For information on our current Law offerings, please click here.