The United Democratic Movement (UDM) makes an urgent call on government to refer the proposed changes to the Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, as well as the introduction of the National Minimum Wages Bill, back to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). These proposed changes are tantamount to rolling back progress made thus far in terms of the rights of the working class.

From the thunderous outcry of various key role players, that the consultation process around these laws was flawed, it is clear the government

did not do its due diligence. The voices of several unions and union federations were simply not heard.

Government leaders like President Ramaphosa, Deputy President DD Mabuza and Minister Gwede Mantashe, whom all have their political careers – and the powers they wield – thanks to their union roots, must surely understand that ignoring key role-players, or putting some before others, is a recipe for disaster.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and big business cannot be the only influencers at Nedlac. The other union federations such as South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) must be given an opportunity to present their views, vent their frustrations and form part of the collective decision. Their participation cannot be denied just because they do not meet a convenient threshold to exclude certain bodies.

In addition, a great portion of our national economy and future prosperity rests in small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs). Therefore, organisations like the Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NAFCOC) must also be represented at Nedlac.

The UDM believes that no law must be foisted on an unsuspecting public, especially when it runs the risk of contradicting the constitution and infringes on people’s rights as enshrined in our ultimate law.