Ideas of Labour Law – A View from the South
South African labour law has evolved substantially since black trade unions were first granted statutory recognition in 1979. Rulings by the industrial court gave workers unprecedented protection against unfair labour practices, including unfair dismissal, in the last years of the apartheid era. After the democratic elections of 1994, innovative legislation expanded and rationalised these protections. Dismissal disputes are resolved through a highly accessible and expedited system of statutory conciliation and arbitration. Many employers have externalised production resulting in work becoming increasingly insecure for a significant proportion of the workforce. Widespread use is made of triangular employment through temporary employment agencies for this purpose and this has led to controversial calls for their prohibition. The intensity of the conflict over security of employment emerges from the fact that this right was achieved so recently and because of the severe consequence of a dismissal in a society with extremely high unemployment.
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