The role of bargaining councils in a collective bargaining framework in the garment industry : a lesson for Lesotho
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is dedicated to achieving social justice throughout the world. It specifically recognises the right to collective bargaining as one of the main drivers of its ambitions. It desires to achieve social justice through various Conventions and Recommendations. South Africa as a member of ILO constitutionally recognises the right to engage in collective bargaining. The Labour Relations Act (LRA) advocates for the establishment of bargaining councils in various sectors in the country to effectively recognise this right. This study predominantly focuses on the efficiency of these councils as tools for collective bargaining. The study is intended to ultimately provide a lesson to Lesotho. Trade unions in Lesotho’s garment industry are adamant that bargaining councils are the solution to the country’s collective bargaining woes. Specific attention is paid to the history of collective bargaining in the two countries to firstly indicate the inter relation of the bargaining framework in the two countries and to trace the origins of the bargaining councils in South Africa’s set up. The role of these councils is examined, with prime attention placed on the advantages and disadvantages of industry level bargaining. The Constitutions of the National Textile Bargaining Council and The National Bargaining Council for the Manufacturing Industry are examined to determine the roles these councils play in the collective bargaining framework of South Africa. Attention is also paid to the procedures required for the establishment of these councils. The challenges facing this form of bargaining are also outlined, with prime attention being given to the cases in South African courts that are a potential threat to the bargaining council system in South Africa. The study culminates in conclusions on the bargaining framework in South Africa and provides recommendations on ways to improve the collective bargaining framework in the country. This subsequently provides a platform for the lessons that Lesotho should learn from the framework in South Africa. The study ultimately concludes that bargaining councils are efficient tools for the promotion of collective bargaining. They, however, are not a desirable solution for the collective bargaining problems faced in Lesotho’s context.
- Law