Jul 24, 2012
Eskom concerned about labour law changesBack
Construction|Eskom|Measurement|Contracting|Electricity Supplier|Nerina Otto|Power|Measurement
Eskom legal department official Nerina Otto told MPs that a section of the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, which, if enacted, will give the Minister of labour the power to regulate or prohibit sub-contracting, could be interpreted as being unconstitutional.
The power utility is one of about a dozen organisations making submissions at public hearings on the draft legislation, as well as on the Labour Relations Amendment Bill. Two measures were approved by Cabinet in March this year for submission to Parliament.
The two-day hearings are being hosted by the National Assembly's labour portfolio committee.
"This [section of the Bill] could be construed as unconstitutional, insofar as it may interfere with the right to trade. Unintended consequences could include the drastic increase in the operational costs of a business," Otto said.
A large part of Eskom's sub-contracting arrangements had to do with its construction programme, including at Medupi and Kusile power stations.
"This is where we have an opportunity to bring in an element of BEE [black economic empowerment] as well as our SDL [supplier development and localisation].
"Our concern is that in the event these sub-contracting arrangements are regulated restrictively, or perhaps prohibited, that would negatively impact on our ability to grow the economy in that regard."
Otto said Eskom also had concerns about the inclusion of temporary workers in organisational rights disputes, as proposed by the Labour Relations Amendment Bill.
This could lead to practical and administrative problems for an employer, as well as a "proliferation" of trade unions, she said.
"It is Eskom's submission that the inclusion of non-standard workers in the consideration of a dispute about organisational rights could lead to practical and administrative problems for an employer, insofar as implementation and compliance are concerned.
"This does away with the principle of majoritarianism (sic) that is underlying the Labour Relations Act. It could lead to a proliferation of trade unions in the work place and could also result in tension among them."
Otto said Eskom had a recognition agreement that set out thresholds for representation. The utility had a "multiplicity" of employees who belonged to the National Union of Mineworkers, or the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, or Solidarity.
"Clarity needs to be provided on what trade unions representing 'a significant interest, or a substantial number of employees' means. This should be defined so that it is measurable, or capable of measurement to avoid confusion," she said.
In a statement on Tuesday, the department of labour said the hearings would "offer stakeholders, that have in recent months been grumbling about the amendments, a chance to voice their inputs".
Among the organisations set to make inputs are the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Mr Price Group, the Banking Association of SA, the SA Society for Labour Law and the Federation of Unions of SA.
The hearings end on Wednesday.
Edited by: SapaComment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
Updated 7 hours ago Eskom acting chief executive Colin Matjila must reveal all the documents on a tender for the replacement of steam generators at the Koeberg power plant, the DA said on Tuesday. "The DA calls... Matjila, to make good on his promise to provide all relevant documents...
Updated 7 hours ago Electricity producer Eskom warned on Tuesday it would take some time to arrest the current high levels of unplanned outages, revealing that 32 of its 87 coal-fired generating units required “major surgery”, while four were in a “critical condition”. However,...
Updated 6 hours ago Construction on the bus rapid transport stations for Phase 1A of the Rustenburg Rapid Transport (RRT) project was likely to start before the end of the year, with the construction tenders currently being adjudicated, RRT said on Tuesday. Phase 1A of this four-phase...
Updated 6 hours ago Hundreds of innovators and entrepreneurs have gathered in Cape Town to discuss how to support more innovation in South Africa in a bid to drive the economy forward. Venture capitalists, dealmakers, entrepreneurs and academics have been mingling at the South African...
Updated 6 hours ago South African business leaders were more likely than their global counterparts to encourage creative behaviours and “disruptive processes” to drive innovation, the South African results of the GE Global Innovation Barometer, released on Tuesday, have shown. The 2014...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The board of UD Trucks Southern Africa (UDTSA) has announced the resignation of MD Jacques Carelse. Long-time UD employee, corporate planning and marketing GM, Rory Schulz, has been appointed as acting MD while the process started to appoint a new MD. The Japanese...
There is a need to start planning another pumped storage scheme in South Africa. Much work has already been done at a site in the Limpopo province and the project was very close to being put out to tender at one stage. In 2008/9 the National Energy Regulator of South...
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is preparing to leverage its strategic coastal position to develop the Eastern Cape economy through proposed aquaculture development zones (ADZs), with a proposed R2-billion project aiming to contribute $278-million to the...
Completion of the ongoing construction of the 102 km Zomba–Jali–Phalombe–Chitakale road, in southern Malawi, has been extended from June to December 15 because of persistent rains and difficulties in paying the contractor. The project is being undertaken by Kuwait's...
The Malawi government has awarded South African firm Fischer Consortium the contract to upgrade the Malawi Road Traffic Information System. The Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services at Malawi's Ministry of Transport and Public Works says Fischer...