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Basic Guide to Bargaining Councils

Basic Guide to Bargaining Councils

Trade unions and employers’ organisations may form bargaining councils.  Bargaining councils deal with collective agreements, solve labour disputes, establish various schemes and make proposals on labour policies and laws.


The Labour Relations Act applies to all employers, workers, trade unions and employers’ organisations, but does not apply to –
members of the:

  • National Defence Force;
  • National Intelligence Agency; or
  • South African Secret Service

See (Ref)

Applies to all workers and employers and aims to advance economic development, social justice, labour peace and the democracy of the workplace.


One or more registered trade unions and one or more registered employers’ organisations may form a bargaining council by –

  • adopting a constitution; and
  • registering the bargaining council by submitting to the registrar –
    • the application form (Form LRA 3.3),
    • a copy of its constitution, and
    • any other relevant information.

Based on Legislation in Section 29of the Labour Relations Act

Powers and Functions

The main powers and functions of a bargaining council are to:

  • make and enforce collective agreements;
  • prevent and resolve labour disputes;
  • establish and manage a dispute resolution fund;
  • promote and establish training and education schemes;
  • establish and manage schemes or funds to benefit its parties or members; and
  • make and submit proposals on policies and laws that affect a sector or area.

Based on Legislation in Section 28of the Labour Relations Act

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Originally appeared on on 30-05-2008. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of estome. estome accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or fairness of the article, nor does the information contained herein constitute advice, legal or otherwise.

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