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HEAVY PENALTIES FOR DEFAULTING EMPLOYERS


The Labour Relations Act (LRA) in conjunction with the Arbitration Act gives the CCMA, bargaining councils, Labour Court, Labour Appeal Court and private arbitrators the power to take very strong action against employers who commit unfair labour practices or an unfair dismissals.

The types of penalties/corrective actions that have typically been imposed include reinstatement, re-employment, interdicts, promotion of the employee, reversal of a demotion, reduction of a disciplinary penalty reinstatement of benefits, and compensation amongst others. We need to look at each of these remedies in detail because they can have a severe effect on the employer’s financial and/or operational circumstances.

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BEWARE DISMISSING FOR CONFLICT OF INTERESTS


Employees, just like most other people, tend to look after their own interests first.  They are, in most cases, working to satisfy their own needs, whether such needs are financial, self actualising or based on other motives. For this reason common law, while recognising the employee’s right to look after his/her own interests, balances out this right with the employee’s obligation to ensure that the satisfaction of his/her interests does not conflict with those of the employer.

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Don’t underestimate the power of trade unions

The trade union movement in South Africa is extremely powerful. This is not only because of the high proportion of unionised employees and because of the extremely strong legislation supporting unionisation but also because of the political alliance between the biggest union confederation and the ruling party.

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DISMISS POOR PERFORMERS WITH CARE


The level of work performance of employees is a crucial factor in the advancement of South Africa’s economy and in the success of each enterprise. This is one reason that the law does allow employers to dismiss employees who fail to perform according to performance standards. However, the same legislation lays down very stringent tests to establish whether dismissal for poor performance is appropriate in each specific instance.

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STRIKES CAN BE PREVENTED THROUGH PRIVATE ARBITRATION


The huge losses resulting from the current spate of strike raise the question of how such strikes can be prevented. The consequences of strikes can include:

  • The employer’s loss of clients
  • Financial losses for businesses
  • Closure of businesses
  • Industrial sabotage
  • Loss of pay and financial hardship for employees
  • Dismissals

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