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Structure of Social Dialogue in SA Public Service. Presented by Edwin Molahlehi PSCBC Conference 2005 14 February 2005. Historical background to labour relations in the SA Public Service. Formation of a democratic state.- 1994 Political change- impact on labour legislation

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structure of social dialogue in sa public service

Structure of Social Dialogue in SA Public Service

Presented by Edwin Molahlehi

PSCBC Conference 2005

14 February 2005

historical background to labour relations in the sa public service
Historical background to labour relations in the SA PublicService
  • Formation of a democratic state.- 1994
  • Political change- impact on labour legislation
  • Prior to 1993- no LR system Public Service- no right to join unions, bargain or to strike
  • Since 1920 PSA represented only white employees
  • Since 1960’s Joint Advisory Council existed- to advise Minister on HR matters
history continued
History continued…….
  • 1980’s other associations formed along racial lines- PSU, IPS, PSL
  • Also allowed to make written inputs to JAC- govt not obliged to respond- no negotiations
  • 1990’s, - political and labour unrest and beginning of dialoque.
  • Labour Associations and unions invited JAC to meetings to make inputs.
  • 1993- Public Service Labour Relations Act & Education Labour Relations Act passed
  • Right to join trade unions, right to collectively bargain, right to strike entrenched
  • Sections 35 and 36 of LRA establishes PSCBC as mandatory bargaining council
  • Section 37 provides for the establishment of sector bargaining councils
  • Power to designate, vary scope, amalgamate or disestablish BC in public service
scope of the public service
Scope of the Public Service
  • National and provincial spheres of government
  • Excludes local government, state agencies or parastatals
  • +/- 1 million employees
  • Minister of Public Service and Administration determines conditions of service
  • Public Service – single largest employer- 20% of formal employment
establishment of pscbc
Establishment of PSCBC
  • 1997- founding parties of central chamber, ELRC, NNF negotiated constitution
  • PSCBC Constitution registered- October 1997
  • CCMA facilitate role in establishment
  • Collective bargaining on matters of mutual interest
  • Prevention and resolution of disputes
  • Conclude, supervise & enforce collective agreements
  • Co-ordination of sector bargaining councils
  • State as employer- DPSA- 50% of vote
  • Labour- 50 000 admission threshold
  • Constitution allows for acting together arrangements – to allow smaller parties access.
sector bargaining councils
Sector bargaining councils
  • 1998- designation of 3 sector council, in additional to ELRC
  • SSSBC- SAPS- functional & civilian employees- 125 000
  • PHWSBC- health and welfare- national/ provincial departments & other health professionals- 240 000
  • GPSSBC- core public service- all other depts & non- educators- 250 000
  • ELRC- teachers- 350 000


Public Service Coordinating

Bargaining Council

General Public

Service Sector

Bargaining Council

Safety &

Security Sectoral

Bargaining Council

Scope: all employees

in scope of PSCBC,

outside scope of other

sectoral councils

Scope: employees

in the SA

Police Service

Public Health &

Welfare Sector

Bargaining Council

Education Labour

Relations Council

Scope: Employees

in nat and prov health

& welfare depts &

other defined employees

Scope: ‘educators’


in national & prov.

depts of education

Head office


GPSSBC Chambers for all

national departments*

Incl National


The Presidency,


Statistics SA


for national depts

of health & social


Provincial chambers

of the SSSBC

Not linked to PSCBC

provincial chambers

since policing is a

national competency

Coordinating provincial chambers

of the PSCBC in each province

Provincial chambers

of the ELRC

Provincial chambers

of the PHWSBC

GPSSBC Chambers for

provincial administrations*


PSCBC to sectoral councils

Sectoral councils to chambers

Indirect link between provincial cham-

bers & PSCBC coord. prov. chamber


Bosch, Molahlehi, Everett

The Conciliation and Arbitration


As listed in Public Service Act, Schedule 1, excluding

those where GPSSBC does not have jurisdiction

key achievements since establishment
Key Achievements since establishment
  • Setting negotiations and consultation process
  • Setting dispute resolution structures
  • The Job Summit
  • Transformation and restructuring
  • Creating social dialogue structures
  • Improving relations between parties
negotiations and consultative processes
Negotiations and consultative processes
  • PSCBC- collective bargaining intensive
  • Average of 160 days per year
  • Task teams/ committees- support CB process- investigative work/ research
  • Average of 12 collective agreements reached a year
  • Industrial action- only in 1997, 1999 and 2004.
dispute resolution systems
Dispute Resolution Systems
  • Dispute resolution procedures – collective agreement- in compliance with Section 51 of LRA
  • PSCBC- deals with collective disputes – mostly interpretation and application of collective agreements, failure to reach agreement
  • Sector Councils- individual disputes, ULP and dismissal cases
  • Conciliation and arbitration- set down within 30 days
  • Independent panels of conciliators and arbitrators- accredited by CCMA
job summit
Job Summit
  • PSCBC hosted a Job Summit in 2001
  • In line with Presidential Job Summit- NEDLAC
  • Purpose – establish joint mechanisms- on transformation, employment practices and socio- economic development in P/S
  • Outcome- framework agreement on transformation and restructuring of P/S
  • Framework agreement on Labour relations policy
  • Framework agreement on socio-economic policies
  • Adopted as collective agreement of PSCBC
transformation and restructuring process
  • Adoption of Job Summit framework agreement led to negotiations on restructuring process-utilisation of human resources- result was Resolution 7 of 2002
  • Objectives- framework for transformation/ restructuring process, provide for redeployment, retraining, alternative employment, develop sector strategies for job creation, comply with all labour legislation
creation of social dialogue structures res 7 2002
Creation of social dialogue structures ( Res 7/2002)
  • Agreement established joint employer and labour structures at departmental and interdepartmental levels
  • Consultation over strategic & HR plans, job and employee profiles, vacancy and excess lists, matching and placement, training needs
  • Technical Committee of PSCBC- drove implementation process- regular assessment
improving relations between parties
Improving relations between parties
  • One of the achievements of this process- commitment and direct involvement of labour
  • Improved working relations
  • Participative Management- joint decision making.
  • Social dialogue institutions- fairly young in SA- 10 years
  • PSCBC – 7 years- positive contribution to labour peace & sound labour relations
  • Can be acknowledged as best practice in developing world.