220. Mr D B Feldman (COPE) to ask the Minister of Labour:
Whether her department is intending to regulate, beyond just granting
exemptions, variations in the policy of the minimum wage system for
smaller companies; if not, why not; if so;
(1) does the process of collective bargaining in the light of these
unstable labour developments points towards a requirement to
review the process;
(2) that the determinations of such collective bargaining agreements
seem to benefit bigger companies in principle whilst hurting
smaller competitors in practice; if not, why not; if so, give
relevant details in the light of SMME developments and job
(3) the lack of government immediate intervention in sympathy with
smaller companies points to a systematic curtailing of job
growth in the country. Give details. CW309E
Minister of Labour reply:
The Department did complete a review of the Ministerial Determination
for Small Business during 2012. Beyond this review, the Department
does not envisage any further change to the system of minimum wage
regulation in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).
(1) Any collective agreement concluded by parties to a bargaining
council is required to make provision for an exemption process.
This remains the alternative remedy for any company that has
difficulty in complying with the provisions of a collective
agreement. There is no intention to further review the
legislation beyond the amendments that have been proposed to the
Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
(2) The benefits of collective bargaining agreements are aimed at
all employees and employers in a sector, irrespective of the
size of companies. The bargaining council process, including
the exemption process, scope for different minima and the
representivity requirements of parties, provides adequate
controls against adverse effects on economic welfare while
regulating minimum standards of employment.
(3) It would not be appropriate for government to âintervene in
sympathy with smaller companiesâ. As mentioned, the exemption
process provides an alternative remedy and the Minister is
obliged to extend a collective agreement that satisfies the
requirements of the Labour Relations Act. Finally, labour
market policy is not concerned solely with maximising
employment, but is concerned also with minimum standards of
employment and establishing labour rights for employees.