Absent ANC MPs 'stall labour amendment bills'
ANC MPs have been accused of deliberately skipping meetings set down to discuss key labour amendment bills currently before Parliament.
The Democratic Alliance alleges that ruling party parliamentarians did so because the bills had the potential of curbing the powers of majority unions, most of which are associated with it.
The amendment to the organisational rights of the Labour Relations Act gives rise to this new status for small unions, which the DA says will "introduce a greater level of democracy in union decision-making".
Cosatu affiliates command considerable power, influence and numbers in public and private sectors.
President Jacob Zuma had raised the ire of opposition parties in Parliament when he said members of minority unions could not expect the same privileges as their counterparts in majority unions. He was referring to the protracted turf war between the National Union of Mineworker and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union at Lonmin platinum's Marikana mine in Rustenburg.
He said: "In a democratic situation, it is the majority that prevail. I can't change the rules because you want to make a particular point. You can't then say, smaller unions must then be compared to the bigger unions in the same way.
"You have more rights because you're a majority; you have less rights because you're a minority. That's how democracy works."
DA shadow deputy minister of labour Andricus van der Westhuizen said at least seven meetings between August 7 and September 18 were either adjourned early, completely missed, cancelled or did not quorate because ANC MPs were absent.
Committee chairman Eleck Nchabeleng yesterday admitted "attendance (of committee meetings) is a problem", adding that while he had received apologies from some members he did now know where the others were.