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By Earl Coetzee

Digital Editor

Passing of contentious labour Bills causes Saftu outrage

The South African Federation of Trade Unions are 'disgusted' by the passing of the Bills in the National Assembly today, 'but not surprised'.

Saftu spokesperson Patrick Craven says the passing of the Bills ‘proves just how low the ANC has sunk, from a proud liberation movement to a political party that is willing to condemn millions of people to poverty in order to satisfy their friends in business’.

The National Minimum Wage Bill, which sets minimum wages at R3 500 a month or R20 an hour, was passed with 202 votes from mostly ANC benches. The other two Bills, the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and Labour Relations Amendment Bill also passed with the same number of votes.

All three Bills have been severely criticised by opposition parties, as well as Saftu.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) walked out of parliament today before voting on the Bill could commence, while 16 MPs did pass their votes in opposition.

Craven told The Citizen after the passing of the Bills: “We are disgusted, but not surprised.”

Saftu led several countrywide protests against the Bills last month and Craven says they are more resolute than ever to ensure they do not become law.

“We will now go back to the street and we will keep on fighting and draw even bigger numbers than in April, to do so,” he said.

Beside the Minimum Wage Bill, Saftu has a major gripe with the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, which would require unions to rely on a secret ballot before deciding on a strike.

Craven says this law would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for workers to call for a strike, in the case of intransigent employers, which would severely hamper workers’ rights.

Government has said the intention of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill is to limit the number of protracted violent strikes seen across sectors annually.

ALSO READ: Saftu takes aim at Cyril over minimum wage, labour law

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