Chairperson, this Bill has come back to this House from the NCOP. The Bill was passed by this House and sent to the NCOP. It is the product of interaction between labour, government and employers at Nedlac. The department brought the Bill here - neither the opposition nor Cope.
The NCOP, in discussing this Bill, recommended that clauses 9(c) and (d) be omitted on the basis, firstly, that they are unconstitutional and, secondly, that courts should not be allowed to interfere with the right to strike.
Cope believes that the NCOP and the ANC are wrong, because clauses 9(c) and (d) refer to both strikes and lockouts, and Cope believes that the right to strike or lock out are not absolute rights.
The clauses proposed by the department, and not by Cope or the Minister, provide for consequences and empower the courts to bring a strike or production to an end when any of the parties do not respect picketing rules. The court can only rule after both parties have been given an opportunity to present their case, and therefore none of the parties can unilaterally decide to bring either a strike or production to an end. As far as I am concerned, this clause brings consequences for unruly behaviour by unions and underhand activities by the employers.
On the other hand, Cope supports the inclusion of clause 9, with which the DA and the ID have indicated their disagreement, because strikes are about solidarity. If workers on strike cannot be supported by members of the community, they have no weapon to enforce the strike. A union involved in the strike must take responsibility for the actions of its members and supporters.
Lastly, the issue of balloting is vital. It is important that at the end of the day workers should have the right to decide whether they want to go on strike or not. It cannot be the leadership that makes the decision on whether workers go on strike or not. As a result, Cope will not support this Bill. [Applause.]