Ex­emp­tion will stop strike

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - OPINION -

MY SUS­PI­CIOUS mind is work­ing over­time about the ex­emp­tion ap­pli­ca­tion by the two largest bus com­pa­nies.

Both were at the fore­front of the wage ne­go­ti­a­tions with the trans­port unions while the unions were on strike.

The strike was crip­pling the in­dus­try and was in­cred­i­bly neg­a­tive.

The com­pa­nies were placed in a po­si­tion where it ap­peared they had to agree to the un­sus­tain­able in­crease in order to put an end to the strike.

As an aside, when the Labour Re­la­tions Act is changed next year it will en­able the min­is­ter to in­ter­vene in un­sus­tain­able strikes.

The two largest bus com­pa­nies have ap­plied to be ex­empted from the in­creases. The com­pa­nies are in the process of out­lin­ing why they can’t af­ford the in­crease and how it’s un­sus­tain­able in their re­spec­tive cases. Herein lies the rub!

The unions are now faced with the sit­u­a­tion where they will ob­vi­ously op­pose the ex­emp­tion and might even take the is­sue to the Labour Court. How­ever, they can­not go on a strike in the face of a pos­si­ble ex­emp­tion ap­pli­ca­tion be­ing suc­cess­ful.

Unions can only strike in cer­tain cir­cum­stances but can­not strike in favour of a right that they have.

It takes a sus­pi­cious mind to con­jure up a sce­nario where the bus com­pa­nies might have had this idea at the com­mence­ment of the strike.

They could eas­ily break the strike by agree­ing to the in­crease and forc­ing the unions to go back to work. The com­pa­nies would know full well that the unions can­not strike again if an ex­emp­tion is granted.

Michael Ba­graim Labour Spokesper­son

Par­lia­ment

PIC­TURE: SOPHIA STANDER/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Golden Ar­row Bus Ser­vices has an­gered unions by ap­ply­ing for an ex­emp­tion from the wage deal at the bar­gain­ing coun­cil.

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