Welcome to the first Labour Newsflash of 2014.

Last year we advised that 2014 would be an exceptionally busy year on the labour front. It is only  mid-January and a lot has happened since the last update of 2013 :

Employment Tax Incentive Bill
This bill has been the subject of much discussion and criticism particularly from COSATU, but has finally seen the light of day on 1 January 2014

The SARS FAQ section has the following to say about this : “ It is an incentive aimed mainly at encouraging employers to hire young and less experienced work seekers. It will reduce the cost to employers of hiring young people through a cost-sharing mechanism with government. This incentive will complement existing government programmes with similar objectives. The incentive will be implemented on 1 January 2014.”

One looks forward to seeing how this process rolls ahead and if it addresses the issues, as it is a short term measure.

We will unpack this and other Bills in our various communications to you throughout the year.

The Basic Condition of Employment Act
This piece of legislation was gazetted in December with no further changes since our last newsflash. This is clearly indicative of the start of the finalisation of the amendment process and we should expect these to be in play during the first quarter of 2014

Employment Equity Act
This bill has also been gazetted on the 16th of January, indicating even further that the process is reaching its conclusion.

Early strike season
The Northam strike has ended with the parties settling on a 9.5% increase at certain levels and lesser at others. This after a 75 day bloodless strike where employees lost 24% of their annual wage.

Strike action affecting three-quarters of South African platinum production will also kick off this week after members of the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (AMCU) voted in favour of a walkout at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).

This would add to planned walkouts already agreed to by AMCU members at Lonmin and Impala Platinum. Both the gold and platinum sectors will be affected by these strikes.

These are strong indicators that we are in for a year of rolling mass action and strong demands for double digit increases. Strike season seems to continue throughout the whole year and not the usual seasonal occurrences as in the past.

Parties should strongly weigh up the potential gain or loss versus the perceived gain. This analysis usually indicates that strike action would lead to losses for everyone. Sad to say that this analysis is in most cases not done or shared.

So, a busy start to the year. We will be there with you every step of the way, keeping you updated on matters as they happen. Enjoy the attached case law as well. It will prove for interesting reading.

Till next time

Johnny and Grant