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South Africa – Labour laws given ‘A’ rating

18 June 2014

South Africa’s labour laws may not be as restrictive as previously feared, with a report by global law firm DLA Piper concluding that the country’s employment legislation is on par with many first world countries, reports bdlive.co.za.

South African lawyers who helped compile the report said there was a "fair balance" in the legislation. Employees were afforded protection without making it onerous for businesses to adapt to a changing environment.

The DLA Piper Global Employment team compiled a global report on restructuring and redundancies. South African law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr contributed to the chapter on South Africa, which received an "A" rating.

Aadil Patel, Director of Employment Practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, commented: "Our laws are akin to some of the best in the world, as we have achieved balance for both the employers and employees.”

Johan Botes, of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, said employees were, for example, protected during a strike as they could not be made redundant because of the strike itself. As businesses retained their right to restructure, South Africa’s law was "in the middle" of the extremes seen globally, where it had become either too difficult or too easy to retrench.

"It suggests the pendulum has not swung as far as people think it has," Mr Botes stated.

According to Grant Wilkinson, a labour expert from professional services provider Global Business Solutions, there are a lot of trust issues between business and labour in South Africa

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