Research trip to Canada

A SARPBAC delegation will leave for Canada on 03 October 2014 to undertake research into best practice around strengthening collective bargaining and finding alternatives to strikes, specifically looking at how Canada resolves deadlocks in collective bargaining.

The delegation will be taking a closer look at options including Interest Arbitration (IA), a mechanism which has been used with much success in Canada. Interest arbitration offers an alternative mechanism to breaking deadlocks between parties engaged in collective bargaining. 

Our constitution guarantees workers’ the right to strike – a right further entrenched in the Labour Relations Act (LRA), which also gives employers the right to lock workers out of the workplace pending resolution of such disputes.

Once the right to strike has been exercised however, no ‘breaking mechanism’ exists.

With strike action, currently a default method of dispute resolution and pervasive in various South African industries, the possible implementation of a mechanism such as interest arbitration will eliminate the need to wait for legislation to change.

It is imperative to note that any alternatives sought will not replace the Labour Relations Act but will serve to strengthen collective bargaining.

General Secretary, Gary Wilson, has conducted preliminary research, which demonstrates the viability of interest arbitration as an alternative to strike by examining its implementation in the public sector.

The delegation will be investigating the interest arbitration process and the management of hearings.

Download the preliminary research article