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Registrar of Labour Relations appeals to unions and employers to amend their constitutions in preparation for secret ballots

by lloyd last modified 2019-02-14 16:37

14 February 2019

The Office of Registrar of Labour Relations has appealed to the trade unions, federations and employer organisations to use the transitional provisions in the amended Labour Relations Act (LRA) to effect necessary amendments to their constitutions that require that before engaging in a strike or lockout, parties must conduct a secret ballot of members.

Registrar of Labour Relations Advocate Lehlohonolo Daniel Molefe said, unions and employers organisation have 180 days from the commencement of the amended LRA to effect changes in their constitution(s) to cater for balloting.

The Labour Relations Amendment Act of 2018 came into effect on 01 January 2019. It was amended together with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) which gave birth to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Act. The amended legislation was negotiated at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) where representatives of workers and employers including social partners meet to discuss labour market legislation and related issues.

The 180 days transitional provision will exclude holidays and weekends.

“Once the 180 day transitional provision ends, the law will have to take its course. Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant in December also published the balloting guidelines,” Advocate Molefe said the amendments seek to ensure compliance with the requirement for conducting a secret ballot.

The guidelines on balloting for strikes or lockouts issued in terms of Section 59 (9) of the LRA relate to: that every trade union or employer’s organisation must before calling a strike or lockout conduct a ballot of members in respect of whom it intends to call the strike or lockout; a system of voting; member rights in regard to failure or refusal to participate; permit in regard to balloting; unless stipulate a requirement for a trade union to obtain the consent of the employer to hold a ballot; procedures to be followed when conducting a secret ballot.

The guidelines also deal with issues of notice of a ballot, the drafting of and preparing of ballot papers, the voters roll, balloting and counting, scrutineers and observers, records of ballots, and transitional provisions.

Molefe said in terms of this amendment, his office was in the process of embarking on an advocacy sessions to engage with trade unions and employer organisations on the implications of the amendments.

“We have written letters to unions and employers of our intention to engage with them. Once the transitional provision comes to an end the might of the law will take its course,” he said.

The mandate of the Registrar of Labour Relations is to ensure the optimal use of the collective bargaining framework in order to promote co-operative labour relations and economic efficiency and growth. It is also to promote strong unionism and employer organizations and promote the establishment of councils in order to achieve sound and stable labour relations.

Some of the punitive measures that can be imposed by the Registrar for non-compliance with labour legislation include: deregistration, cancellation of registration and placing the guilty party on administration.


Issued by:


Teboho Thejane

Departmental Spokesperson

082 697 0694

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