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The Idea of Labour Law$
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Guy Davidov and Brian Langille

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199693610

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693610.001.0001

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Ideas of Labour Law – A View from the South

Ideas of Labour Law – A View from the South

(p.209) 13 Ideas of Labour Law – A View from the South
The Idea of Labour Law

Paul Benjamin

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   South Africa, apartheid, industrial court, unfair labour practice, unfair dismissal, expedited, conciliation, arbitration, triangular employment, temporary employment agencies

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