South African Labour Law | Case Studies | SA Labour Court | CCMA
Johannesburg (Gauteng), Cape Town (Western Cape), Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape), Durban (KwaZulu-Natal)
South African Labour Law: South Africa has an advanced labour law system, protecting the rights of employees. Our Constitution gives all people in South Africa a right to fair labour practices. All employees have equal access to the law by way of the CCMA and the Labour Court which allows easy access to fairness and equity. The Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court are courts of equity and fairness and the decisions of the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal court must be followed by the CCMA and lower courts. The Commissioners in the CCMA must apply principles of fairness and equity and often refer to Labour Court cases to justify their decisions.
South African Labour Law - Case Studies
Case studies in the Labour and Labour Appeal Court create precedence and have to be followed by other judges and CCMA commissioners. This ensure certainty and fairness as the principles of law are set down for everybody to know and to follow. The law on discipline is a good example where the case studies give us a clear indication of what is fair and unfair.
SA Labour Court
The Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court are specialised courts of fairness and deal with labour matters. The Labour Court’s status is equal to that of the High Court of South Africa and you will find one in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Only labour matters can be referred to the Labour Court. The Labour Appeal Court consists of three judges who will hear an appeal against a judgement from the Labour Court. The Labour Relations Act specifies which cases must go the Labour Court and which must go the CCMA. Mass retrenchments, interdicts and reviews are heard by the Labour Court whereas the CCMA has jurisdiction over unfair dismissals, unfair labour practices, single retrenchments, constructive dismissals and dismissal of probation employees.
CCMA vs. South African Labour Court and SA Labour Law
The CCMA has been created by the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, as a “creature of statute.” This means that the CCMA commissioners must act within the scope of the Labour Relations Act and follow the judgements of the Labour Court. CCMA rulings are not judgements so other commissioners do not have to follow it. The CCMA has been created to give speedily and easy access to labour fairness and resolution of disputes. Employees can easily refer a dispute by completing a form, the LRA 7.11 referral form and faxing or delivering it to the employer and the CCMA. The main purpose of the CCMA is to get employers and employees together as soon as possible, within 30 days, and to try and find a resolution to the dispute through a conciliation process. Only once the conciliation process is unsuccessful will the matter be referred to arbitration or will a certificate be issued declaring that the parties may strike. The biggest percentage of cases referred to the CCMA are unfair dismissal cases, which are resolved through conciliation or arbitration.