Cape Town - The DA wants to change the country’s labour laws to prevent strike-related violence and will introduce amendments to the legislation governing strikes.

The party’s spokesman on labour, Ian Ollis, said he would, in his private capacity, submit a private member’s bill “that will seek to prevent strike-related violence”.

Ollis will make the submission following the arrest of 26 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA at the weekend after acts of intimidation, public violence and malicious damage to property in Gauteng.

“The DA respects workers’ constitutionally guaranteed right to engage in lawful protest action. However, a balance must be struck between workers’ rights and the rule of law,” said Ollis.

“The wanton destruction of private property, (and the) intimidation of business owners, fellow workers and members of the public must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”

He said that through the introduction of a private member’s bill, the DA would seek to create legislation that:

- Required unions to comply with a list of practical measures aimed at limiting or preventing violence before it occurred.

- Required workers be educated about violence and the law before they went on strike.

- Required unions to provide marshals for crowd control and to prevent criminals infiltrating unions.

- Made more riot and crowd control training available to members of police.

- Empowered courts to stop a strike that had become excessively violent by forcing the parties into arbitration. - Political Bureau

- Cape Times