The financial crisis, which currently besets the Bargaining Council for the Metal and Engineering Industry (MEIBC) has abated somewhat, with the MEIBC’s dispute resolution body resuming its services from 1 June 2016.
A recent case from the Labour Appeal Court is significant for two main reasons. Firstly, it has shown that, once an arbitrator in an unfair dismissal dispute has found the dismissal to be too harsh, there is limited scope to overturn this finding in court. Secondly, it has clarified that an arbitrator dealing with a dismissal dispute can also determine the employee’s claim for commission at the same time and that there is no cap to such claims.
i) Job cuts in South Africa have occurred across most sectors leading to a sharp rise in unemployment in the first quarter of 2016, rising to 26.7% from 24.5% in the last quarter of 2015. ii) Collective industrial relations in the metal and engineering industries have become dysfunctional, with the Bargaining Council for the Metal and Engineering Industry (MEIBC) suffering a financial crisis and the employers and union in the council unable to reach an agreement on a number of issues, resulting in the council being unable to fulfill its dispute resolution functions for some time.
In a recent case, the Labour Court had to review, for the first time, an appeal against an arbitration award relating to alleged pay discrimination in terms of the recently amended Employment Equity Act (EEA). The case considered the issue of “equal pay for equal work” and whether a pay discrimination claim founded not on a specific ground listed in the EEA (e.g. race, gender. etc.), but rather on an “arbitrary” ground, had been established. The Court held that treating people differently in the workplace, in accordance with their length of service with the employer, did not impair their fundamental human dignity or affect them adversely in a comparably serious manner.
Many industries are currently facing annual wage increase negotiations with the trade unions representing their employees. In light of frequent protests in the past few months, relating to matters such as service delivery and the use of outsourced employees, it is expected that employees’ demands may be higher than previous years, especially due to the […]
In Vodacom v Motsa, the Labour Court was approached on an urgent basis to enforce a restraint of trade provision together with a period of so-called “garden leave”. The employee resigned with immediate effect and intended to take up employment with a competitor of the company. The company however elected to enforce the employee’s contractual […]
In Campbell Scientific Africa (Pty) Ltd v Simmers, the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) recently provided guidance on the distinction between ‘sexual attention’ and ‘sexual harassment’. On the last night of a business trip, Mr Simmers made advances to the complainant (a female colleague 25 years his junior) and asked her if she “want[s] a lover […]
i) As reported previously, the calls for a national minimum wage continue to gain momentum and support, particularly in a local government election year, where a topic such as this appeals to the majority of voters. This month, business, labour and government representatives have reportedly been engaged in frantic negotiations to agree on a national […]
In Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa v PUTCO Limited (CCT94/15) ZACC 7 (8 March 2016), the Constitutional Court (CC) clarified an issue relating to employer-initiated lock-outs. A dispute had arisen in bargaining council negotiations between employers’ organisations and some trade unions in the road passenger transport industry that ultimately led to the […]
The Minister of Labour has repealed the current Sectoral Determination 9 for the Wholesale and Retail sector and replaced it with a new sectoral determination, which came into force on 1 March 2016. Sectoral determinations regulate minimum terms and conditions of employment, including minimum wages, in specific sectors; historically, those that contain a large amount […]