This dissertation is aimed at evaluating and considering the amendments introduced by the Labour Relations Amendment Act, No. 08 of 2018 (hereafter LRAA, 2018) with a specific focus on the amendments to the picketing provisions contained in section 69 of the Labour Relations Act, No.66 of 1995 (hereafter LRA). The purpose of the evaluation is to assess the effect, if any, that the amendments may have in curbing violent and prolonged strikes. It is a common fact that South Africa is known for its violent and prolonged strike action. The question that remains is what should be done to address this problem. This study constitutes a theoretical research into the applicable pieces of legislation and legal instruments that govern the fundamental right to strike and the right to picket in support of a protected strike and whether such picketing rules enshrined in the LRAA 2018 will contribute to the measures implemented in an attempt to curb collective brutality in South Africa. The study further will carry out a comparative study into other countries’ domestic laws with particular focus on the right to picket in order to find guidance on addressing the problem.
The study finds that the amendments to the picketing provisions introduced by the LRAA 2018 are not sufficient to curb violent and prolonged strikes. In fact, labour laws in isolation cannot address this problem. The broader socio-economic factors that frustrate workers eventually forcing them to embark on a strike and resort to violence have to be taken into account in order to address violent and prolonged strikes. Also, it is established that the legality of a strike is of no significance to a worker who is frustrated by socio-economic pressures. The South African government and social partners have to address the broader socio-economic factors.
This study further establishes that the Labour Court in effect can rely on section 213 of the LRA to interdict violent strikes. It was found further that given the failure by social partners at NEDLAC to reach an agreement on an amendment that expressly empowers the Labour Court to interdict protected strikes that are violent, the need for creative new laws and the Court’s interventionist approach seem destined to continue. It remains to be seen where this situation will take our labour relations.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2019.