The impact of closed shop agreements : a critical and comparative analysis of South Africa and Germany
Ramoseme, Thato C.
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This research is based on the opinion that the application of closed shop agreements in South Africa negates the purposes of the LRA contained in section 1 of the Act. These purposes are the rights of workers to economic development, social justice, labour piece and workplace democracy. Therefore, without the achievement and attainment of these rights, the Act becomes baseless and thus redundant. The research asserts that the application of closed shop agreements to rid off free riding from union activities requires the adoption of a collective approach in the labour relations whereas the protection of the labour rights contained in the Act as its main purposes requires an individualist approach. The analysis demonstrates that the application of closed shop agreements, although premised on both the Constitutional and international obligations of South Africa, contradicts the requirements for the fulfilment of these labour rights in that it leads to loss of employment, unequal distribution of both advantages and disadvantages resulting in the instigation of labour divisions and the consequent tensions while employees are also disarmed of their ability to influence workplace activities. As such it is necessary to consider an alternative arrangement that does not contradict the exercise of these labour rights. In an attempt to reverse the effects of the closed shop practice, the research investigates the Germany law on closed shop agreements and the elimination of free riding without undermining the exercise of the labour rights identified. The research recommends the German practice which involves the proscription of closed shop agreements and the adoption of approaches intended to entice employees to join trade union membership thus eliminating free riding. In the alternative, the research recommend~ the high regulation of closed shop agreements to ensure the protection and promotion of the purpose of the LRA and consequently the achievement and attainment of the four labour rights refereed to above. In order for these recommendations to apply in South Africa with success, it is the collective responsibility of all the stakeholders.
- Law