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 minutes ago French software company Dassault Systèmes Geovia is offering South Africa’s struggling mining industry the opportunity to innovate and accelerate its cash flow at the same time. The company outlined its mix of innovation and cash-boosting potential at a presentation...
Recent Research Reports
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 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 infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
The BMW Group will invest R6-billion at BMW Group South Africa’s (BMW SA’s) Rosslyn plant to produce the next-generation X3 sports-activity vehicle (SAV) for the local and export markets. Rosslyn will continue production of the current 3 Series through its lifecycle,...
The lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions on the part of contractors remains a significant hurdle to tackling South Africa’s service delivery challenges, delegates heard at the Consulting Engineers South Africa Infrastructure Indaba, on...
City of Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele earlier this month officially named the city’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Harambee.
About 58% of unstructured data stored by companies is dark data, which means that the value or regulatory importance of the data has not been determined. Subsequently, most of the stored data add costs, rather than increasing revenue or reduce regulatory risks, says...
Effective logistics, import/export and manufacturing consulting services require detailed industry knowledge and experience, but can add significant value to these industries by providing expert advice on various technical elements in their value chains, says...