Article 49/2021

Labour Edge

How did the labour court recently, in Civil and Power Generation Products (Pty) Ltd v CCMA and Others (2019) 30 SALLR 170 (LC), deal with the issue as to whether or not the requirement of reasonableness (when reviewing an arbitration award) has been met?

In Duncanmec (Pty) Ltd v Gaylard NO and Others 2018 (6) SA 335 (CC); (2018) 39 ILJ 2633 (CC); [2018] 12 BLLR 1137 (CC), at paragraphs [42]–[43], the court succinctly summarised the test as follows:

‘This test means that the reviewing court should not evaluate the reasons provided by the arbitrator with a view to determine whether it agrees with them. That is not the role played by a court in review proceedings. Whether the court disagrees with the reasons is not material.

The correct test is whether the award itself meets the requirement of reasonableness. An award would meet this requirement if there are reasons supporting it. The reasonableness requirement protects parties from arbitrary decisions which are not justified by rational reasons.’

Often employment contracts contain a clause to the effect that the agreement is the sole record of the terms existing between the parties and that any variation or amendment thereof will only be valid if reduced to writing and signed by both parties.

When appearing in the labour court in motion proceedings and there are material disputes of fact, should the matter be referred for oral evidence?

Motion proceedings (including applications in terms of rule 31 of the CCMA rules) are not designed to resolve disputes of fact, but indeed disputes of law.