An examination of the evolution of the industrial relations systems in Germany and South Africa with special reference to the functionality of Chapter V of the South African Labour Relations Act (66 of 1995)

Schrauf, Marcus H. (2003-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: After decades of its struggle against the apartheid policy and system, and after the victory in the first democratic elections in 1994, the pre-1994 co operation within the alliance of the African National Congress (ANC), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) created the framework of reference for the legal infrastructure of a new Industrial Re[ations ([R) system in which trade unions, employers and government would act together in a spirit of tripartism. The legal infrastructure of the new IR system was thus aligned with the new politica[ dispensation and in compliance with the new Constitution (200 of 1993) with its overarching aim as the correction of the imbalances of the past by ensuring both, a climate supportive of growth and the pursuit of social equity for all South Africans. However, in the wake of the 1994 elections, more and more ideo[ogical differences have arisen within the Alliance, also fostered by South Africa's unequal income distribution, the [ow life expectancy, the [ow literacy rates, high infant mortality, one of the highest H[V/Aids infection rates among the black population and its strong investor - unfriendly climate, all affecting effective policy making. [n particular, the ANC's 'shift to the right' with its Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy for macroeconomic development is alienating it from its alliance partners. Nevertheless, a new package of labour legislation was structured around the core of the individual contract of employment, resting in common law, with the Basic Condition of Employment Act (75 of 1997) setting minimum standards, and the new Labour Relations Act (66 of 1997) providing the framework for a collective bargaining system. The new Labour Relations Act integrates co operation in the [R system by enabling trade unions and employers to establish and regulate formally their relationships for the purpose of collective bargaining and creating machineries for the resolution of disputes of interest on the one side, and an employee - employer relationship based on rights vested in the parties in an enterprise, domestic context on the other. Provisions for a certain form of codetermination by, and participation of workers in the taking of decisions by management on the shop floor are legally entrenched in Chapter V - Workplace Forums - of the Labour Relations Act. Chapter V of the Labour Relations Act (66 of 1995) stipulates the requirements for the establishment of a Workplace Forum and defines and regulates its functions. If the definition and structure of such a Workplace Forum as contained in the respective schedule of the Act are compared with the German Betriebsverfassungsgesetz of 1952 and 1972, numerous similarities can be observed, and a quasi - adoption and incorporation of the German act as a blueprint for Chapter Vof the South African act can be assumed. However, whereas in Germany co-determination and the 8etriebsvedassungsgesetz of 1952 and 1972 have evolved naturally over the years, workers participation in South Africa through a Workplace Forum appears to be a mere legal creation, conceived on the drawing board for the new legislation, without any particular tradition and an effective place in the IR system. Additionally, questions raised in connection with its constitutionality leaves the quasiimported provisions of Chapter V in a doubtful light. I n analogy to the German Verfassungsklage of 1976 against the then new Mitbestimmungsgesetz, the focus of this study falls on a hypothetical test whether the provisions of Chapter V would be in accord with the new South African Constitution (200 of 1993), and also the constitution of their 'importing country', namely Germany. Several grey areas exist in which the Constitutional Courts of both countries would most probably have to declare some provisions as unconstitutional, the most important one being that, since the establishment of a Workplace Forum is linked only to the initiative of an existing representative union, the Freedom of Association of the individual is impaired.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Na dekades van weerstand teen die sisteem van die apartheidsbeleid, en na die oorwinning in die eerste, demokratiese verkiesing van 1994, het die samewerking binne die alliansie van die African National Congress (ANC), die Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) en die South African Communist Party (SACP) die raamwerk vir die struktuur van 'n nuwe Nywerheidsverhoudingsstelsel waarbinne vakbonde, werkgewers en die regering in 'n gees van tripartisme kan saamwerk, die lig laat sien. Die regtelike infrastruktuur van die nuwe nywerheidsverhoudingsstelsel was dus met die nuwe politiese sisteem in ooreenstemming en ook voldoende aan die vereistes van die nuwe Konstitusie (200 van 1993). Die alomvattende doel van die Konstitusie was om die sosiale wanbalans van die verlede te korrigeer en 'n klimaat te skep wat ekonomiese groei en die strewe na sosiale gelykheid vir alle Suid-Afrikaaners moontlik sal maak. In die tydperk na die verkiesing het egter meer en meer ideologiese verskille binne die Alliansie ontstaan, ook veroorsaak deur Suid Afrika se ongelyke inkomsteverdeling, 'n lae lewensverwagting, 'n lae vlak van lettervaardighede, 'n hoe graad van kindersterflikheid, een van die hoogste Vigs statistieke vir die swart bevolking en 'n onvriendelike klimaat vir buitelandse investering wat all die effektiewe beleidsskepping beinvloed. Besonders die ANC se 'verskuiwing na regs' met sy Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategie vir makroekonomiese ontwikkeling vervreemd die organisasie van sy bondgenote. Dit nieteenstande het 'n nuwe pakket van arbeidswetgewing ontstaan. Die kern van die pakket is die individuele kontrak van indiensneming wat in die algemene reg veranker is, maar wat deur die Wet op Basiese Diensvoorwaardes (75 van 1997) met 'n getal van minimum standaarde en vereistes gemodifiseer word, met die Wet op Arbeidsverhouding (66 van 1995) wat vakbonde en werkgewers met 'n raamwerk vir die proses van kollektiewe bedinging voorsien. Die nuwe Wet op Arbeidsverhoudinge maak voorsiening vir die samewerking tussen vakbonde en werkgewers om hulle verhouding vir die doel van onderhandelinge te formaliseer en ook meganisme vir die beslegting van belangedispute, en ook regsdispute wat uit die regte van die partye in die direkte werksplek vloei. Voorsiening vir 'n sisteem van werkersdeelname en medebestemming in die besluitneming van bestuur word in Hoofstuk V - Werkplekforums - van die Wet op Arbeidsverhoudinge gemaak. Hoofstuk V van die Wet op Arbeidsverhoudinge bepaal die vereistes, reguleer die stigting en defineer die funksies van 'n Werkplekforum. As 'n vergelyking van die definisies vir, en die struktuur van so 'n Werkplekforum soos voorgeskryf in die skedule vir Hoofstuk V met die Duitse Betriebsverfassungsgesetz van 1952 en 1972 gemaak word, kan daar baie ooreenstemming met die wet gevind word. Dit Iyk ook dat baie komponente van die Duitse wet oorgeneem en as 'n bloudruk vir Hoofstuk V gebruik en daarin geintegreer is. In analogie met die Duitse Verfassungsklage van 1976 teen die destydse nuwe Mitbestimmungsgesetz val die klem in die studie op 'n hipotetiese toets of die voorwaardes van Hoofstuk V met die vereistes van die nuwe Suid Afrikaanse Konstitusie (200 van 1993) voldoen, en ook die van die konstitusie van hulle 'importeeringsland', naamlik Duitsland. Daar bestaan sekere grys areas in Hoofstuk V waarin die konstitusionele howe van altwee lande hoogswaarskynlik sommige voorwaardes as botsend met hulle onderskeidelike konstitusies sou vind. Die mees belangrikste daarvan is die voorwaardes dat, aangesien 'n Werkplekforum net deur 'n verteenwoordigende vakbond mag gestig word, die Verenigingsvreiheid van die individu aangetas word.

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