Issue in dispute

Can non-parties to a bargaining council collective agreement challenge the Minister of Labour’s subsequent extension of such an agreement to them?

Court's decision

In the case of Valuline CC and others v Minister of Labour and others (5642/2011) [2013] ZAKZPHC 9 (13 March 2013), the Pietermaritzburg High Court had to consider this question. The court elected to review and set aside the Minister’s decision to extend the 2010 National Main Collective Agreement of the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry to non-parties in the clothing industry. It did so on the basis that the requirements of section 32 of the Labour Relations Act of 1995 (as amended) (“the LRA”), which regulates the extension of collective agreements concluded in bargaining councils to non-parties, were not met.

The judgment further confirmed that the High Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Labour Court to determine matters arising out of section 32 of the LRA.

Importance

It is clear from this judgment that collective agreements concluded in bargaining councils can only be extended to non-parties if the requirements of section 32 of the LRA are met. Importantly, either the Labour or High Courts can be approached to consider this type of dispute.