COSATU welcomes the NCOP’s rejection of the current draft of the Foreign Service Bill

The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the NCOP’s rejection of the current draft of the Foreign Service Bill. The federation is pleased that the NCOP heeded its call and in particular the call for the deletion of clause 2.2 in the Foreign Service Bill, which sought to place it above all other laws where a conflict may arise.

COSATU and its affiliates and members were deeply aggrieved that this very problematic clause had been inserted late in the date quietly during the National Assembly processes. It was not part of the Bill that had been tabled at the Public Service Bargaining Council for engagement with workers or that was advertised for comment by the Department of International Relations of the National Assembly. 

It was inserted and retained by the NA in spite of numerous objections by COSATU and unions. If retained it would place the FS Bill in direct conflict with other laws impacting upon workers’ hard-earned constitutional rights, in particular, the Labour Relations, Basic Conditions of Employment, Occupational Health and Safety and Protected Disclosures Acts. COSATU will not allow the government to undermine workers’ rights and labour laws.

This would have created a very dangerous precedent going forward, where other departments could have sought to find a back door to run away from the legal obligations to respect and uphold workers’ rights.

There have been too many incidents where Ambassadors have sexually harassed, bullied, abused, fired, recalled and most recently locked in a room; foreign service personnel at South Africa’s missions abroad. 
Diplomats are workers and have the right to work free of such abuses and profanities.

COSATU applauds the NCOP for boldly rejecting clause 2.2 of the Foreign Service Bill and referring it back to the National Assembly for the 6th Parliament to clean up. We will work tirelessly to ensure that this happens and no more dubious back door insertions are entertained.

For further information please contact: Matthew Parks COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator

Cell: 082 785 0687