Violent strikes become a stark reality around this time of the year as wage and substantive negotiations deadlock in a stand-off in many instances. A weak economy, depressed consumer spending, growing unemployment and employer-employee fatigue are key contributing factors. Despite the fact that employees are protected from dismissal if they follow the requirements of law before embarking on a strike, their remuneration sacrifice (no-work-no-pay) adds to tensions as the strike days increase.

In an attempt to curb protracted and violent strikes, s150A of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) provides that a party to the dispute of interest or the Director of the CCMA can initiate the appointment of an advisory arbitration panel that will investigate the nature, extent and circumstances of a strike (or lock-out) and make an advisory award. The latter will be directed towards enabling the parties to find a resolution to the dispute(s).

Jonathan Goldberg, CEO of Global Business Solutions, has been appointed by the Minister of Employment and Labour on 31 July 2019 as an advisory arbitration panellist representing business in South Africa. “As a general rule, the Director of the CCMA can only appoint the panel in the event that the strike or lock-out is no longer functional to collective bargaining, which may include when a strike is protracted with no imminent resolution or when violent conduct threatens Constitutional rights. In addition, when a potential national crisis looms, the panel may be established”.

The effect of an advisory award would be that either the parties accept it or reject it. If the said parties reject the award, they must have first engaged with their constituencies and motivate the rejection. The speed with which this process can be concluded is of utmost importance.

If you require any assistance regarding the above, or strikes, lock-outs and picketing in general, please contact us.