of The Labour Consultancy
and Grant Ray-Howett
of Kanichowsky, Solomon & Charalambous.
This week, we take a break from dismissal. Jaco Malan of The Bargaining Council for the Catering industry talks about the role of bargaining councils in terms of collective bargaining and about the collective agreement which regulates the catering industry.
Bargaining or Industrial CouncilsThere was a need from employers and employees for a legislative framework for collective bargaining. Subsequently, the need was addressed and it was decided that a system of national Industrial councils would provide regulation of employers, employees and their various collectives, the Trade unions and Employers organizations in the various industrial sectors. One of these that was established was the Bargaining Council for the Restaurant and Catering.
What is a bargaining council? The bargaining council is basically the same as the old industrial council. When the new Labour Relations Act 66/95 came into operation, the names of the industrial councils changed to bargaining councils. The Act clearly states this point in Schedule 7 Section 7, it states “an industrial registered in terms of the Labour Relations Act immediately before the commencement of this Act is deemed to be a barging council under this Act and continues to be a body corporate”.
In addition, the Labour Relations Act also provides for new bargaining councils to be established. Section 27(1) states that one or more registered trade unions and one or more registered employers organizations may establish a bargaining council for a sector and area by (a) adopting an institution that meet the requirement of Section 30 and (b) obtaining registration of the bargaining council in terms of Section 29.
We may well then ask ourselves, why the need for a bargaining council. This question is answered by looking at the functions and powers given to bargaining councils by the Labour Relations Act:
In this article, I shall focus on one of the most important functions of the bargaining councils :Collective Agreements and Bargaining forums
One of the most important advantages is that employer organizations and trade unions can become a party to the bargaining council and these organizations can negotiate on behalf of their members, minimum terms and conditions of employment that will bind their members. As such bargaining councils remain one of the most important collective bargaining institutes, provided for by the Labour Relations Act in South Africa.
In addition to Bargaining Councils providing collective bargaining forums for trade unions and employers organizations, a bargaining council is entitled to make the terms of an agreement binding on all members of the council and in some circumstances on all who fall within the jurisdiction of the council. The effect of the provisions of the bargaining councils agreement is that generally speaking, the minimum terms and conditions of employment negotiated by a bargaining council and contained in an agreement published in their Government Gazette will bind all the employers and employees in the industry.
It is therefore not surprising that bargaining council agreements are regarded as a type of subordinate legislation. If a council agreement is declared binding on a trade union or employers organization all members of that trade union will be bound by that agreement, including non parties on a date after the agreement has been declared binding. Members of the trade union or employers’ organization will also remain bound by the provisions of the agreement even if they should subsequently cease to be members of the union or organization. A bargaining council agreement will remain binding for the period specified in the notice in the Government Gazette.
We may well then ask why we need such an agreement. There are a number of reasons for this:
One of the Bargaining councils established under the Labour Relations Act is the Bargaining Council for the Restaurant, Catering and allied trades . The Council has subsequently passed a collective agreement which is binding on all parties that fall under the jurisdiction of the council. This agreement, known as the “Main Agreement” basically applies to all those businesses who prepare food for sale to the public. This means that all restaurants are included but that clubs like golf clubs who prepare food for their members are not included. It is important, if you are in the industry, to get a copy of this agreement for it regulates all the basic conditions of employment. This included minimum pay for various categories of employees and maximum working hours. If the employer does not observe these standards, then they may be subject to a fine, which in some situations can be heavy. So if you are an employer in the industry, my advice to you would be to register with us as soon as possible.
The following people B/C RCAT will gladly assist you
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