Work and Employment > Taking Industrial Action > Trade Unions > Trade Union Rights in the Workplace
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Trade Union Rights in the Workplace

A registered union, that has less than 40% membership of the workforce but which is sufficiently representative (around 30% of membership of the workforce as members) can apply for these rights:

  • Access to the workplace for union office bearers and officials to hold meetings, etc
  • To ballot its members
  • To provide stop-order facilities for the deduction of ‘subs’ or trade union subscriptions

This percentage of membership is regarded as being ‘sufficiently representative’.

A registered union that has a majority (more than 40%) of the employees as members at a workplace, can apply for the above rights as well as the following:

  • Election of shop stewards/employee representatives
  • Disclosure of information/the employer must give the union any information that is relevant for meetings and negotiations
  • Time off for a representative to undertake trade union duties or have training

The union applies to the employer for these rights. Within 30 days the employer must meet the union. They make a collective agreement about these rights. The union can ask the CCMA to intervene if the employer refuses. The CCMA will try to mediate and if that fails, will arbitrate.

Unions that belong to Bargaining Councils or Statutory Councils automatically have these rights, even if they don’t have many members at a workplace.

The CCMA is now required to consider the composition of the workforce, extending its parameters to include Temporary Employment Employees and any other in atypical working conditions.

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