ALLIANCE MEETING ON THE BASIC CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT BILL

The Tripartite Alliance of the ANC, SACP and COSATU yesterday held a meeting on the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill. This is one of a series of meetings held over the past few weeks at various leadership levels to find a resolution to the current impasse over the bill.

The Alliance exchanged views and proposals over the following core issues raised by COSATU throughout the negotiations of the bill:

• Six months maternity of which at least four should be paid; • A forty hour working week without loss of wages phased in over a period of no more than five years; • The proposed variation model which may permit possible downward variation of basic conditions; • 16 years as a threshold for prohibition of children to work.

While no resolution have been found, the Alliance particularly COSATU and the ANC agreed to take back to their respective organisations the positions and proposals made. Further meetings are planned as soon as any of the parties have considered the proposals on the table or new ones aimed at resolving the current impasse.

On our part, we intend to table these proposals to a Special Exco scheduled for Thursday 21 August 1997. This meeting has been arranged to evaluate the four days of rolling strikes which begins on Monday 18 to Thursday 21 August 1997 in our various regions. Furthermore, we will use it to prepare for an Alliance Summit which is scheduled to take place on 22 -23 August 1997.

The past few days have seen speculations of an eminent breakthrough over the Bill. While we remain committed to finding a resolutions through a combination of mass struggle and negotiations, it is mischievous to speculate over a breakthrough where it does not exist.

We call on our affiliates, regions and workers regardless of trade union affiliation to ignore these rumors and to concentrate on the plans for next week.

We reiterate our call on business to revise their positions and mandates. They should not rely on their "war chest" or litigation but on commitment to have a bill go through parliament this year. The ball is in their court.