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EOHCB: Understanding Bargaining Councils, Trade Unions, and Employers' Organisations



In this article, we explore the key components of South African labour laws, focusing on three important entities: Bargaining Councils, Trade Unions, and Employers’ Organisations. These entities play vital roles in shaping workplace relations, ensuring fair treatment, and representing the interests of workers and employers alike.


Bargaining Councils:

Definition: Bargaining Councils are bodies established in law to negotiate and enforce collective agreements within specific industries or sectors.

Purpose: They promote orderly collective bargaining, set minimum wages and working conditions, and resolve disputes between employers and employees.

Composition: Typically, Bargaining Councils consist of representatives from both employers and employees, along with government officials in some cases.

Functions: They negotiate collective agreements, resolve disputes through conciliation and arbitration, and provide training and support for employees and employers.

Legislative Compliance:

  • Employers: Required to comply with collective agreements reached through Bargaining Council negotiations. This includes adhering to prescribed minimum wages, working hours, and other conditions.

  • Employees: Obliged to abide by the terms of collective agreements, including work hours, conduct, and adherence to workplace rules and regulations set forth by the Bargaining Council.


Trade Unions:

Definition: Trade Unions are associations formed by workers to protect and promote their interests in the workplace.

Purpose: They advocate for better wages, working conditions, and benefits for their members, and also play a crucial role in negotiating with employers.

Membership: Any worker can join a trade union voluntarily, and unions often operate at the industry or sector level.

Activities: Trade unions engage in collective bargaining, industrial action (such as strikes), and provide support and representation for workers in disciplinary hearings and disputes.

Legislative Compliance:

  • Employers: Legally obliged to recognize and engage in collective bargaining with registered trade unions representing their employees.

  • Employees: Have the right to join or form trade unions and participate in collective bargaining activities. They must also adhere to lawful directives issued by their trade unions regarding industrial action or dispute resolution processes.


Employers’ Organisations:

Definition: Employers Organisations are groups formed by employers to represent their interests in employment-related matters.

Purpose: They advocate for the interests of employers in negotiations with employees and trade unions, and also provide support and guidance to their members.

Membership: Employers, including businesses, associations, and professional bodies, can join employers' organisations to benefit from collective bargaining, representation, and support.

Functions: They engage in collective bargaining, provide guidance on labour laws and regulations, and represent employers in disputes and negotiations with employees and trade unions.

Legislative Compliance:

  • Employers: Encouraged to join and participate in Employers’ Organisations to ensure their interests are effectively represented in Bargaining Council negotiations.

  • Employees: No direct legislative compliance obligations regarding Employers’ Organisations, but they may benefit indirectly from their employer's membership through improved labour relations and workplace conditions.


In conclusion, Bargaining Councils, Trade Unions, and Employers’ Organisations are essential components of South African labour laws, each playing a distinct role in promoting fair labour practices, resolving disputes, and representing the interests of workers and employers. Understanding and complying with the legislative framework governing these entities is essential for maintaining harmonious labour relations and upholding the rights of all parties involved.


Industry Related Entities:

Bargaining Council – National Bargaining Council for Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Beauty, and Skincare Industry (HCSBC)


Trade Union – UASA The Union


Employers’ Organisation – Employers’ Organisation for Hairdressing, Cosmetology, and Beauty (EOHCB)


For any further information or enquiries please contact the EOHCB representative in your area by clicking HERE.



EOHCB Contact Details



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