A number of SA’s labour laws are set to come under scrutiny at Cosatu’s national congress in September, with the union federation pushing for amendments to some sections of the Labour Relations Act (LRA). Cosatu wants section 189 of the LRA, which stipulates the procedures for retrenchments, to be strengthened to make it harder for employers to let go of workers. In an interview with Business Day last week, Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the law allows companies to retrench workers to "protect profits". The proposed changes form part of Cosatu’s fight-back plan against mass retrenchments and the government’s lack of action on dealing with unemployment.

The federation is also setting the tone for a mass action plan that will culminate in a strike to force the government to impose a moratorium on all retrenchments until the jobs summit. Section 77 of the LRA, which regulates protests to promote or defend the socioeconomic interests of workers, makes it hard f...

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