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Basic Guide to Closed Shop Agreements

by admin — last modified 2008-09-12 12:32


A type of collective agreement, a closed shop agreement requires non-union workers to join the union or face dismissal.

Application

The Labour Relations Act applies to all employers, workers, trade unions and employers’ organisations, but does not apply to -
  • members of the:
    • National Defence Force;
    • National Intelligence Agency; or
    • South African Secret Service.

See

  • Labour Relations Act
    Applies to all workers and employers and aims to advance economic development, social justice, labour peace and the democracy of the workplace.

What is a Closed Shop Agreement?

A closed shop agreement is a type of collective agreement that requires non-union workers to join the union.

Parties

A closed shop agreement is a type of collective agreement concluded by –
  • a majority trade union (1 or more trade unions whose members are a majority of the workers employed), and
  • an employer or employers' organisation.

Dismissal

Under a closed shop agreement, non-union workers must join the union or face dismissal.
If a union expels a member or refuses to allow a new worker to become a union member, and if this expulsion or refusal is in accordance with the union’s constitution or is for a fair reason, then the employer will have to dismiss the worker.  This dismissal is not considered unfair.

Conscientious Objectors

Conscientious objectors (workers who refuse to belong to a union on the grounds of conscience) may not be dismissed for refusing to join the union.

Legal Force

A closed shop agreement is legally binding only if –
  • 2 thirds of the workers have voted in favour of the agreement;
  • workers are not required to be trade union members prior to employment; and
  • subscriptions and levies are only used to advance or protect the socio-economic interests of workers.

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