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Is interest arbitration the magic solution to resolving a strike?

Our constitution guarantees workers' the right to strike – a right further entrenched in the Labour Relations Act (LRA), which also gives employers the right to lock workers out of the workplace pending resolution of such disputes. But lengthy, and often violent or destructive, strikes have called into question the value of strike action as the prime method of resolving disputes about wages or other matters of mutual interest between employers and employees (sometimes referred to as 'interest disputes'). Is there another, more beneficial, method of resolving strikes?

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Con-arb process plagues HR practitioners

Because of the need to speed up the resolution of labour disputes, the Labour Relations Act (LRA) provides for a 'short-cut' process called 'con-arb', which stands for 'conciliation-arbitration'. 'Conciliation' is the process in which the CCMA or bargaining council (BC) mediator tries to assist the employer and employee to reach an out-of-court agreement. It's a peace-making exercise that's intended to end in a settlement agreement and not in a judgement award.

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Fair is fair: or is it?

The crucial labour law term 'unfair' is extremely difficult for employers and employees. As the term is not defined in any of the statutes parties tend to interpret the concept in a way that suits their needs and legal position. The act of an employer would be seen in labour law to be 'unfair' if it infringes the employee's rights, is one-sided, unnecessary and/or inappropriate under the circumstances. To develop an understanding of what this means in practice, this article will look at some actual cases where the CCMA, bargaining councils and the courts have interpreted the term 'unfair'.

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Employers victimised by confusing legal terms

Uncertainty about the meaning of legislation can lead to industrial disputes and confusion among employers about what their labour law rights and obligations are. One term's meaning - that causes wide-scale confusion - is 'victimisation'. 'Victimisation' can be defined as 'targeted mistreatment carried out for a specific reason'. An example of this is when an employer overloads a single employee with work to force him or her to resign. Case law expands on the meaning of victimisation.

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How the Employment Equity Amendment Act will affect you

The Employment Equity Amendment Act (EEAA) took effect on 1 August 2014 and the question on most people's lips is: How will this affect employers? Any decent lawyer will tell you that it all depends! If your employment policies and practices are in order and are regularly audited to ensure these don't unfairly discriminate, the EEAA will have very little effect on your business. However, employers with more dated policies and practices may be on the receiving end of claims made by employees who seek solace in terms of the EEAA.

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