Strikes: Pay differentials – why management should share the blame

Management blame employees for the wave of threatened strikes during the world’s premier sporting event, but they need to be made accountable and share the blame if South Africa is crippled by strike action as early as next week.

There is an unfortunate false perception that the ‘bargaining unit’ and ‘management’ are two separate and different entities within the same organisation.   The individuals in those entities cannot be treated differently, particularly with regard to pay determination.

Irrespective of the Labour Relations Act, in terms of section 27 of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) pay differentials must be proportional across the whole organisation and where they are disproportionate employers must correct the problem.   In other words one measuring device, like a thermometer, must be used across the entire organisation.

Collective bargaining is but one of the means used to correct disproportionate pay differentials.   If management refuse to discuss the process and the determination of their own increases and bonuses there would appear to be a serious breach of the legitimate requirements of the EEA.

Management must also be held accountable for refusing or failing to disclose information requested by the unions during the negotiating process.

Daan Groeneveldt

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