The Labour Relations Amendment Act significantly amends section 69 dealing with picketing. The amendment requires a commissioner/BC panellist appointed to deal with the dispute that may lead to the strike/lockout to determine the rules surrounding the picket. A conciliating commissioner or BC panellist is therefore compelled to try and secure a picketing agreement between the parties when conciliating the dispute, before the expiry of the conciliation time limit. Parties are therefore compelled to agree on ‘ground rules’ prior to embarking on Industrial Action. This would hopefully curtail violence and unrest which has become so commonplace in the current labour sphere. If no picketing agreement exists or the commissioner is unable to secure agreement between the parties, the conciliating commissioner must then determine picketing rules based on standard picketing rules to be prescribed under Section 208, the code of good practice, and any representations made by the parties. Picketing rules must be issued together with any certificate of failure to settle the dispute.
Unions may further apply to the CCMA on an urgent basis for picketing rules where the dispute relates to unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment and the employer has failed to restore the status quo or an unprotected lockout has been implemented. No picket may take place in support of a protected strike or lockout without picketing rules. The Labour Court is further empowered to suspend pickets if it is just and equitable
This was promulgated on 1 January 2019 and contains Default Picketing Rules [Annexure B to the Code], which is designed to assist parties to come to an agreement, or in the absence of an agreement, to assist Commissioners and BC panellists to determine the rules pertaining to the dispute that they are conciliating. Annexure B to the Code specifically states that any Default Picketing Rules must be interpreted in accordance with the Constitution, the LRA and the Code itself.
The Code of Good Practice: Collective Bargaining, industrial action and Picketing
This code was published during December 2018 and is intended to be a guide to those who engage or want to engage in collective bargaining or those who seek to resolve disputes of mutual interest by conciliation, mediation, arbitration or as a means of last resort, industrial action (i.e. strike or lock-out).
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