The agreement between Solidarity and the government which profoundly changes the racial policy of companies was today made an order of the court in the labor court in Johannesburg.
This agreement follows after Solidarity lodged a complaint with the International Labor Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, against the government’s rigid racial approach. A mediation process between Solidarity and the South African government, supervised by the ILO, followed and led to the agreement.
The court order says that the terms of the agreement as regulations in the government Gazette must be published.
The agreement and order of the court also states that no one may be fired or laid off on the basis of race or as a result of race plans.
It further states that race policy must be temporary, that race must not be the only factor in drawing up plans, and that the pool of available skills as well as companies’ unique circumstances must be taken into account.
Another provision lists the circumstances under which a company will be able to motivate and explain non-compliance.
According to dr. Dirk Hermann, managing director of Solidarity, the era in which only racial demographics are set as targets is over. The calculator race approach is now simply illegal.
“The government’s breed regulations, which were published for comment earlier this year, will not survive this agreement either. Many companies that complied, and especially the government’s race plans are also illegal,” says Hermann.
“Companies will have to go back to the drawing board and make sure that their race plans comply with the terms of the agreement with Solidarity, and the order. It gives clear guidelines of how racial laws should be interpreted.”
Hermann believes that many insecurities in the workplace have been eliminated after this.
“The government is now obliged to publish the agreement in regulations. If the court order is not complied with, the government, the president and the minister of employment and labor can be charged with contempt of court.”
Solidarity will also not hesitate to test the government’s or any company’s non-compliance with the content of the order in court.
Hermann says this court order can be considered an important breakthrough.
“It is historic that an international body helped to facilitate a settlement on race. Although this agreement will completely change the landscape of racial policy in the country and is an important battleground, the war against the government’s racial ideology is not yet over.
“Solidarity and the government appear again before the United Nations at the end of November. Solidarity has again submitted a report to the UN and is asking for clarity about an end date for racial policy in South Africa.”