Article 34/2022

In Herholdt v Nedbank Ltd (Congress of SA Trade Unions as Amicus Curiae) 2013 (6) SA 224 (SCA); (2013) 34 ILJ 2795 (SCA); [2013] 11 BLLR 1074 (SCA), it was made clear that an arbitration award would be set aside on review if the defect in the proceedings fell within one of the grounds in s145(2)(a) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, as amended (‘the LRA’).

What constitutes such gross irregularity in terms of s145(2)(a)(iii)?

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In the above judgment, the supreme court of appeal answered this question as follows:

‘[25] …For a defect in the conduct of the proceedings to amount to a gross irregularity as contemplated by s145(2)(a)(ii), the arbitrator must have misconceived the nature of the inquiry or arrived at an unreasonable result. A result will only be unreasonable if it is one that a reasonable arbitrator could not reach on all the material that was before the arbitrator. Material errors of fact, as well as the weight and relevance to be attached to particular facts, are not in and of themselves sufficient for an award to be set aside, but are only of any consequence if their effect is to render the outcome unreasonable.’

With reference to Potgieter v Samancor Chrome Ltd t/a Tubatse Ferrochrome (2022) 33 SALLR 190 (LC) and Van Rensburg and Others v Department of Justice and Correctional Services and Others (2022) 33 SALLR 280 (LC); (2022) 43 ILJ 2110 (LC).

In what instances does the jurisdiction of the supreme court of appeal trump the jurisdiction of the labour appeal court?

Where an employer prematurely terminates a fixed-term contract and the employee challenges such termination as being unlawful and claims damages and not specific performance, the labour court has up to now ordered damages even though same is an unliquidated claim for damages.