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Thread: Minister backs business owners in Council struggle

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    Minister backs business owners in Council struggle

    BUSINESS owners have a surprising ally in the form of the Minister of Labour, Membathisi Mdladlana, who believes that big businesses are using the bargaining council system to crush small business.

    "I am hoping that small businesses will raise their voices," said Mdlalana in an interview with BusinessOwner.co.za.

    But, he conceded that it is difficult for ordinary business owners to take time off from their businesses to lobby in the same way that large businesses do.

    "You know how big businesses are: They have big money, big ideas, big opinions and a very loud voice."

    Mdladlana explained that in 2002 certain reforms to the bargaining council system were thwarted when "big business and the unions found each other" on the Millennium Labour Council and blocked key concessions to small businesses.

    Eventually it was decided that 'each industry must make provision in their bargaining council constitutions for (small and medium enterprise) representitivity. But one of the problems is that the Act does not say how this should be done,' said Mdladlana.

    BusinessOwner.co.za's investigations into the harassment of business owners by bargaining council officials revealed widespread tokenism of the so-called small business representatives on bargaining councils.

    Large businesses and the unions are using the bargaining councils to make such tough rules that small businesses are forced to retrench, close down or go underground.

    The Minister said the bargaining councils are obliged to report their interactions with small businesses annually to the Registrar of Labour Relations, but he conceded that the bargaining councils may not report fully on major retrenchments and closures enforced on small businesses.

    "I can see that the reports coming from the bargaining councils may end up being merely glossy publications. Perhaps it is wrong of us to leave the reporting to the very people who are using the system to work against small businesses."

    Mdladlana, who describes himself as 'passionate about small business', said his department will have to look at creative ways of removing barriers for small businesses to join the "first economy".

    Says Madladlana: "We have closed down fake unions and false employers associations. There is no reason why we cannot close down bargaining councils that are not truly representative of an industry."

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBBEE_CompSpec View Post
    Says Madladlana: "We have closed down fake unions and false employers associations. There is no reason why we cannot close down bargaining councils that are not truly representative of an industry."
    Bargaining councils are not representative of non-parties. Any chance he would consider disposing of the extension of collective agreements to non-parties? Or perhaps increasing the requirement to 75% representivity?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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