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Ivan Israelstam

group of people protesting, holding up white placards

Strikes in South Africa are as ‘normal’ as warm weather. However, strikes have more recently occurred less frequently probably due to the reluctance of unions to weaken the employer and to spark resulting retrenchments. In the light of this partial mindset change the Massmart strike that has entered its second week is somewhat unexpected.

co-workers having a meeting

Whether the dismissal of an employee who attended work whilst awaiting a Covid-19 test result, who continued to report to work after the Covid-19 test result came back positive and who failed to follow health and safety protocols in the workplace, was fair.

two people having a meeting

In the case of Maepe vs Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration & another (CLL Vol. 17 June 2008) a senior commissioner at the CCMA was brought to a disciplinary hearing on charges of sexual harassment and improper or disgraceful conduct. A CCMA receptionist had accused the senior commissioner of having professed his love for her, blown her kisses and told her that he clutched her photo to his chest. 

person nursing knee injury

In addition to Corona other illnesses result in work falling behind just when businesses are trying to recover from the lockdown. The challenge for employers is to distinguish the genuine cases of illness from those where employees are just sick of working.

Covid-19 mask

Covid has very severely weakened business, eroded job security and spurred unemployment. While strikes have been fewer and shorter during Covid, their effect is greater because of the very weak financial circumstances of businesses and workers resulting from the pandemic.

person signing contract

Lack of awareness of Constitutional and labour law protections of employees from foreign countries has prompted many employers to mistreat illegally employed staff. That is, employers have paid illegal immigrants low wages, deprived them of employee benefits and have dismissed them at will.

offce dispute

Employees do not ordinarily have an automatic entitlement to a pay increase or to advancement up the corporate ladder. However, the Labour Relations Act (LRA) does allow employees who have been passed over for promotion to lodge an unfair labour practice dispute at the relevant bargaining council. Should the industry in question have no bargaining council the employee may lodge the dispute at the CCMA.

labour law

The Employment Equity Act (EEA) prohibits sexual harassment of employees by other employees and holds the employer liable in such cases even if the employer does not know that the sexual harassment is going on. The courts have upheld this provision.

co-workers in a meeting

The CCMA’s policy guidelines for misconduct dismissal arbitrations that became effective in January 2012 increases the obligation on commissioners to conduct themselves properly when arbitrating such matters. 

employees at a work hearing

Should an employer fail to bring any witnesses to a CCMA arbitration the employer’s representative will find it extremely difficult to win the case because witness testimony normally forms the crucial core of the procedure at any hearing. 

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