The Secret Ballot Amendment

Updated: Oct 14


In January 2019 a new regulation regarding strikes was signed into the Labour Relations Act. This new regulation requires a secret ballot to be held by the employees and their Trade Union and the employer before they can start the process to embark on a protected strike or lockout.

The reason for this amendment was to try and curb long and continuous strikes and or lock outs and get the employer and employees discussing the matter before they embark on a strike or lockout, with the hope of resolving the matter or finding alternative solutions without the need to strike or implement a lock out. The new amended regulation places a sense of responsibility on the shoulder of the parties

deciding to move forward with the strike action or lock out. Should the ballot show that the strike or lockout was supported then no one may point fingers and blame the other party for any consequences as a result of industrial action.

Unions are obliged to include a clause in their constitution for a secret ballot. Trade unions and employer organisations are now required to conduct a secret ballot among its members for those members to embark on a strike, or for the employer body to implement a lock out against employees.

The Registrar of Labour confirmed on the 9th of September 2019 that it is now illegal to strike or embark on a lock out without a secret ballot.

Some of the punitive measures that can be imposed by the Registrar for non-compliance with this amendment includes: Deregistration; Cancellation of registration or Placing the guilty party on administration.

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