A number of acts regulate the various aspects of employment and labour relations in South Africa.
Chief among them is the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The Constitution enshrines the right to fair labour practices, the right to strike, the right to form and join trade unions and participate in trade union activities, and the right of trade unions and employers to engage in collective bargaining.
The Labour Relations Act of 1995 governs collective bargaining at the workplace, regulates the right to strike and the recourse to lockout, and governs the dismissal of employees as well as the relief to which unfairly dismissed employees are entitled.
Minimum terms and conditions of employment are governed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997, while the Employment Equity Act of 1998 governs the implementation of affirmative action measures in the workplace in order to eradicate discrimination against previously disadvantaged groups. The latter act also provides for equal pay for equal work claims, prohibits unfair discrimination in any employment policy or practice, and requires designated employers to formulate employment equity plans and report on the implementation of such plans.
Other important legislation applicable to employment and labour relations includes the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993, as well as the Skills Development Act of 1998 and the Skills Development Levies Act of 1999.
In addition, various statutes make provision for the publication of Codes of Good Practice, and also provide that such Codes be taken into account in the application or interpretation of relevant laws.
“Minimum terms and conditions of employment are governed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997, while the Employment Equity Act of 1998 governs the implementation of affirmative action.”
For a comprehensive document outlining the implications of this area of law in South Africa