Workers in South African enterprises employing fewer than 50 workers should be given the right to strike against retrenchment, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has proposed.
The union federation also seeks a move to a 40-hour week as opposed to the current 45 hour week.
In the secretariat's report, tabled at the start of a four-day conference at Midrand on Monday, it argues that the appropriate amendment should be made to the Labour Relations Act -- section 189a -- to put this into effect.
In addition, the union federation said it should be made easier for vulnerable workers to organise. It also said the Labour Relations Act's vision of the role of bargaining councils should be reconsidered to ensure that the majority of workers were covered.
"Bargaining councils should receive a full subsidy from the Department of Labour for all dispute resolutions services that they provide. In addition, we need to improve the extension of agreements to non-party employers," the document said.
Cosatu also proposes that the Labour Relations Act be amended to exclude advocates and attorneys "who practice for their own account" from representing parties in individual dismissal cases.
Cosatu said "unnecessary limits on workers' strike action" which still applied to solidarity strikes and the essential services, should be removed.
"End the limitations on strikes in the Police Act, the Key Points Act and other apartheid legislation limiting freedom of association," the document said.
The latest attack, it said, on workers rights began last year. "It essentially contended that the existing laws prevent the emergence of small business and by extension employment creation."