Welcome to the first labour newsletter of 2016!

2015 proved to be a seminal year in the history of South African Labour Law. Labour Law inevitably goes hand in hand with economics. The state of both the country’s economy as well as the labour market was substantially tested in this period.

Labour Relations Act
The 2015 year kicked off with the implementation of the long anticipated Labour Relations Act. Sadly the predictions made by the writers hereof have come true and we have seen substantial job losses as a result of the implementation of the legislation, particularly after the implementation of the so called “deeming” provision.

A flurry of cases was expected to happen shortly after the 1 April deeming implementation, however this flurry commenced predominantly in July. We are proud to say that we have been able to resolve and successfully litigate all matters referred in respect hereof that have come across our desks.

Assign Services Matter
The fundamental case in terms of the testing of the deeming provision was the Assign Services matter. This matter had originally been heard in the CCMA and then taken on review successfully by Assign Services. At time of writing, NUMSA had applied unsuccessfully for leave to appeal to the Labour Appeal Court and have now petitioned the Labour Appeal Court requesting leave to appeal.

Other issues which made headlines and which will no doubt continue to make the headlines, are Equal Treatment and a National Minimal Wage.

Equal Treatment
Equal Treatment cases have come to the forefront in the second semester of 2015 and there is no doubt that these provisions will be tested substantially in 2016.

Global Business Solutions will be running Equal Treatment Breakfast sessions nationally during the month of January 2016, and we firmly believe that this particular subject is fundamental to any business going forward. We are in the firm believe that we have the necessary tools to assist you in achieving compliance with the legislation.

National Minimum Wage
As for the National Minimal Wage, there is little doubt that this will be implemented during the course and scope of 2016. At this stage it appears that the amount is the only issue up for the debate, the implementation however appears inevitable. There’s been numerous studies on either side of the debate. However, it would be interesting to ask ourselves the question whether this introduction of minimum wage would lead to job creation or job losses? In a job scarce country we need to implement legislation which allows for sustainable legitimate business practices in that way that this will create jobs and inevitably will lead to better conditions for staff members.

2016 Challenges
So 2016 will no doubt prove to be another challenging year and with a number of aspects carrying through from 2015. Sadly 2016 has kicked off with acts of racism being rife. This raises the interesting point of employers managing employees’ communication on social media and the risk associated.

Together with this newsletter we will have a brief exposition of the suggested rules of engagement in terms of dealing with social media usage.

For interesting reading we also include a link to a recent article which appeared in the Cape Argus where Grant was approached for comment:

We are focusing on the three major problems of 2015 due to the vast spectrum of matters arising in Labour Law. We aim to summarise these aspects for you in these newsletters together with relevant Case Law – the impact thereof, and how to practically deal with this in your workplace.

We trust that these newsletters will continue to be of assistance and we look forward to seeing you this year.

Till next time.

Jonathan Goldberg and Grant Wilkinson