Contempt of court judgment highlights debate around efficacy of labour court strike interdictsFriday, April 29, 2016 13:22:00
A recent judgment by the Labour Court of South Africa highlights the debate around the efficacy of court interdicts in prohibiting unlawful conduct in the context of strike action. In November last year, the trade union, South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and its members, who are employees of Pikitup, commenced unprotected strike action. Pikitup is owned by the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) and conducts the business of waste collection and disposal in the greater Johannesburg area and its surrounds.
The strike was unprotected and was accompanied by violence and intimidation by striking employees. On 24 November 2015, Pikitup successfully obtained an interim Labour Court order, inter alia, interdicting the strike, precluding employees for participating in such strike action and preventing employees from committing various acts of unlawful conduct aimed at interfering with Pikitup’s waste collection business.
New employer bears potentially unforeseen risk of reviewFriday, March 11, 2016 10:50:00
Employers looking to acquire a business as a going concern need to be mindful of any existing labour disputes or arbitration awards in this business as these could pose serious risks to the success of the transaction.
Where a transaction amounts to a transfer of a business as a going concern, section 197 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) provides that the employees involved in the transferring business become employees of the acquirer of the business. But more than this: section 197(5) of the LRA specifically provides that the new employer is bound by any arbitration award made against the old employer in respect of employees to be transferred to the new employer.
No man can serve two mastersSunday, November 01, 2015 16:30:00
In the recent matter between Assign Services v the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (the CCMA) & Others, handed down on 8 September 2015, the Labour Court, considered, inter alia, the interpretation of the deeming provision contained in section 198A(3)(b) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (the LRA).
Non-permanent employees afforded greater protectionWednesday, July 01, 2015 13:44:00
The stricter regulation of atypical forms of employment were introduced with the Labour Relations Act (LRA) amendments on 1 January 2015 to include a number of provisions specifically aimed at giving labour-brocking employees, employees employed on fixed-term contacts, and part-time employees greater protection.
Labour Minister’s view should be seen as warningWednesday, May 27, 2015 14:50:00
Recent comments by the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, criticising employers who were laying off workers after a three month contract after which they would be deemed permanent employees, should be seen as a warning to labour brokers and clients, since the liability and risks associated with circumvention of the Act are real, and are easily accessible to employees.
Fixed term employees - Stricter regulationsTuesday, May 19, 2015 15:14:00
1 January 2015 saw the introduction of stricter regulation of a-typical forms of employment with the Labour Relations Act (LRA) amended to include a number of provisions specifically aimed at giving labour broking employees, employees employed on fixed term contracts, and part-time employees greater protection. Except for the amendment to s186(1)(b) of the LRA, which applies to all employees irrespective of their level of remuneration, the amendments only apply to employees on a-typical work arrangements who earn below the prescribed earnings threshold.
A Review of Labour Law in 2014 – No Good News for Employers Monday, February 23, 2015 14:11:00
2014 must rank as one of the worst years for employers in terms of developments in Labour Legislation and Labour Law. The ability to hire employees on a flexible basis was substantially diminished, the ability to outsource to save costs was reduced, hiring employees was made more difficult, the cost of employing employees was potentially substantially increased and firing employees became substantially more difficult and costly. If Labour flexibility and ease of hiring and firing are hallmarks of an attractive investment destination the legislature and courts did little to improve South Africa’s attractiveness. The Legislature passed a number of amendments to the Labour Relations Act (“the LRA”) to deal with what is termed “atypical labour”. The Legislature went further than merely curtailing abuses of atypical employment relationships.
Compensation in Unfair Discrimination CasesTuesday, October 28, 2014 14:03:00
In South African Airways (Pty) Ltd v GJJVV  8 BLLR 748 (LAC) an airline pilot, Van Vuuren, reached the retirement age of 60 on 5 August 2005. At the same time a collective agreement with the union was being negotiated in terms of which the retirement age would be increased to 63. Agreement on the increased retirement age of 63 was in fact reached on 19 August, but the collective agreement was only signed in November 2005. While the collective agreement was being finalised Van Vuuren was asked to remain at home on standby. When he resumed his duties in December 2005 he received a reduced salary that was lower than that of his younger colleagues who performed the same work.
Traditional healer ‘certificates’ for sick leave Wednesday, August 06, 2014 14:56:00
If a person chooses to visit an alternative medical practitioner like a traditional healer for health-related ailments and is consequently absent from work, is an employer obliged to accept a sick note produced by the alternative medicine practitioner? In the case of Kievits Kroon Country Estate (Pty) Ltd v Mmoledi and Others (875/12)  ZASCA 189 the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had to answer the question of whether a traditional healer’s certificate can be equated to a medical certificate for the purposes of sick leave.
Annual Leave: Take it or lose itWednesday, August 06, 2014 14:49:00
A recent Labour Court ruling has helped to remove uncertainty as to whether statutory annual leave that is not taken is forfeited. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (the BCEA) provides that employees are entitled to a minimum of 21 consecutive days’ annual leave for every leave cycle of 12 months’ continued employment. This works out to approximately 15 working days of leave a year for employees who work a five-day week, and 18 working days’ annual leave for those who work a six-day week.
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