Factors facilitating the implementation and functioning of workplace forums

Walker, Maria (2009-12)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: One of the first labour reforms introduced by the then newly elected democratic government of South Africa was the introduction of statutory workplace forums. This ground-breaking chapter in the 1995 Labour Relations Act outlined the first legally mandated form of workplace participation, beyond the sphere of the collective bargaining arena. To date, however, the provisions of the Act which govern workplace forums have been subjected to criticism by both labour and business alike, as well as from academics. The sad reality is that there has been a minimal uptake in the establishment of these forums in the 13 years since the provisions of the Act came into force. This research report has delved into the reasons for this resistance, from the side of both labour and business. The multitude of reasons that exist have been grouped under a series of headings that have then allowed the writer to focus on finding factors that would facilitate the establishment of statutory workplace forums. In considering the factors that would facilitate the enhanced uptake and establishment of workplace forums, the research has guided the writer towards the implementation process per se, in particular the attitudinal and mind-set factors that are required as pre-requisites before the more legislatively focussed aspects of the implementation cycle should be undertaken. While there are no doubt valid concerns with several of the clauses in the legislative provisions, in the opinion of the writer these are not the predominant reasons for the failure of the workplace forum vehicle. The adversarial mindset that still exists between business and labour, as well as the worldviews and consequences that stem from such a mindset, has been the largest obstacle in the establishment of workplace forums. Until both parties, and the broader South African society within which all businesses exist, are able to make the fundamental shift from “win or lose” to “mutual gains through co-operation” the workplace forum vehicle will not be implemented, and the drive to further workplace participation will not be successful. The writer has suggested various changes that should be made to the legislation, and processes that should be put in place to start to lay the foundations upon which the workplace forum model can later be built up on. AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Statutêre werkplekforums was een van die eerste arbeidshervormings wat deur die destyds nuut verkose demokratiese regering van Suid-Afrika bekend gestel is. Hierdie baanbrekershoofstuk in die Wet op Arbeidsverhoudinge van 1995 het die eerste vorm van werkplekdeelname met ’n regsmandaat buite die sfeer van die kollektiewe bedingingsarena uiteengesit. Die bepalings van die Wet wat op werkplekforums gerig is, is egter tot dusver aan kritiek deur arbeid, die sakesektor en akademici blootgestel. Die hartseer werklikheid is dat daar in die 13 jaar sedert die bepalings van die Wet in werking getree het ’n minimale opname in die vestiging van hierdie forums was. Hierdie navorsingsverslag verken die redes vir hierdie weerstand uit die oogpunt van arbeid sowel as besigheid. Die talle redes wat bestaan is saamgegroepeer onder verskillende opskrifte wat die skrywer in staat gestel het om faktore te vind wat die vestiging van statutêre werkplekforums fasiliteer. Wanneer daar gekyk word na die faktore wat die sterker opname en vestiging van werkplekforums kan fasiliteer, lei die navorsing die skrywer na die implementeringsproses op sigself. By die implementeringsproses is dit veral faktore soos houding en ingesteldheid wat as voorvereistes nodig is voordat daar aandag geskenk kan word aan aspekte van die implementeringsiklus wat meer op wetgewing gerig is. Hoewel daar ongetwyfeld geldige kommer oor verskeie van die klousules in die wetgewende bepalings is, is dit volgens die skrywer se mening nie die vernaamste redes vir die mislukking van die werkplekforummedium nie. Die antagonistiese ingesteldheid wat steeds tussen besigheid en arbeid bestaan sowel as die wêreldbeskouings en gevolge wat uit sodanige ingesteldheid spruit, is die grootste struikelblok in die vestiging van werkplekforums. Die werkplekforummedium kan slegs geïmplementeer word en die veldtog om werkplekdeelname te versterk kan net slaag indien albei partye, en die groter Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing waarin alle besighede bedryf word, ’n wesenlike skuif kan maak van “wen of verloor” na “gesamentlike voordele deur samewerking”. Die skrywer stel voor dat wetgewing verander word en dat prosesse geïmplementeer word om te begin om die grondslag te lê vir die bou van die werkplekforummodel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/923
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