The Role of the Labour Court in Collective Bargaining: Altering the Protected Status of Strikes on Grounds of Violence in National Union of Food Beverage Wine Spirits & Allied Workers v Universal Product Network (Pty) Ltd (2016) 37 ILJ 476 (LC)

Stefan Van Eck, Tungamirai Kujinga

Abstract


This note explores the powers of the Labour Court as envisaged in the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA), where a protected strike disintegrates into violent riotous conduct. The legal status of protected strikes raises important questions of law, namely: whether the Labour Court has the authority to alter the legal status of a strike; the autonomy of collective bargaining; and the legal test which the Labour Court should apply when intervening. The court in National Union of Food Beverage Wine Spirits & Allied Workers v Universal Product Network (Pty) Ltd 2016 37 ILJ 476 (LC) dealt with this precise problem. There can be no doubt that South Africa is plagued by widespread strike violence which often occur during protected strikes. However, this contribution poses the question whether the Labour Court has not overstepped its mandated jurisdiction and it questions whether such alterations of the status of strikes would have a positive effect on the institution of collective bargaining.


Keywords


Authority of the labour court; collective bargaining; powers of the labour court; protected strikes; unprotected strikes; violent strikes.

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2017/v20i0a1774

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