By Busisani Ncube
Twenty-three security companies have filed papers at the Labour Court in Johannesburg challenging the “invalid and unlawful” extension of the national bargaining council collective agreements by employment and labour Minister Thulas Nxesi.
They want the court to review and set aside the decision taken by Nxesi to extend the collective agreements of the newly established private security sector bargaining council to non-parties despite some irregularities.
According to the law, the minister is authorised to extend bargaining council agreements to non-parties if the parties to the agreement are sufficiently representative of the bargaining sector.
However, in the court documents, the applicants contend that Nxesi did so “without obtaining the correct representation figures in the industry”.
The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), cited as the fifth respondent in the matter, will be asked to disclose details of all industry employers and employees operating in the industry so that the court can determine whether Nxesi complied with the provisions of the law.
The applicants said they will also seek a punitive costs order against the Nxesi and the department of labour.
An employer association, which the 23 applicants belong to, last week issued a media statement saying the establishment of the council “has to do with those that have a vested interest on retaining power”.
President of The Association of Private Security Owners of South Africa (Tapsosa) Jones Maphalaphathwa said Nxesi’s actions were in violation of the law.
Tapsosa assets that the regulation of the bargaining council is a duplication of the already existing regulation by PSIRA and other existing regulatory bodies such as the department of employment and labour, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and the Pension Fund Adjudicator (PFA).
Maphalaphathwa believes the council will not be capable of regulating the industry without the influence of competing interests.
“Our concern is that its establishment has to do with those that have a vested interest on retaining power. They are relentless in pursuing their monopolistic agenda and neglecting the fundamental issues of transformation in the industry,” he said, adding the council was “a scam designed to accumulate excessive allowances for certain individuals and to further enrich the wealthy”
The council, according to Tapsosa, would see workers and employers lose millions each year, through additional monthly contribution fees, which will not achieve anything different from what PSIRA and other regulatory bodies have been tasked with.