Article 84/2021

Labour Edge

What are the requirements to be met for s158(1)(c) of the LRA to be applicable (dealing with the jurisdiction of the labour court) to make an arbitration award or settlement agreement an order of court?

The labour appeal court, in Greeff v Consol Glass (Pty) Ltd (2013) 34 ILJ 2835 (LAC), at paragraph [19], held as follows:

‘It is thus clear from a reading of s158(1A) that s158(1)(c) must be read with and subject to s158(1A). Even though s158(1)(c) refers to “any settlement agreement” this cannot be taken to mean, literally, “any” settlement agreement.  Section 158(1A) describes what settlement agreements are being referred to in s158(1)( c). So properly interpreted, in terms of s158(1)(c), read with s158(1A), the Labour Court may make any arbitration award an order of court and may only make settlement agreements, which comply with the criteria stated in s158(1A), orders of court. A settlement agreement that may be made an order of court by the Labour Court in terms of s158(1)(c), must (i) be in writing, (ii) be in settlement of a dispute (i.e. it must have as its genesis a dispute); (iii) the dispute must be one that the party has a right to refer to arbitration, or to the Labour Court for adjudication, in terms of the LRA; and (iv) the dispute must not be of the kind that a party is only entitled to refer to arbitration in terms of s22(4), or s74(4) or s75(7).’

To what extent is the practice manual of the labour court binding on all parties and the labour court?

The institution of review proceedings does not suspend the operation of an arbitration award unless security is furnished to the satisfaction of the court in terms of s145(8) of the LRA.  On what basis did the labour appeal court recently resolve the conflict between various labour court judgments interpreting the stay of enforcement of arbitration awards pending review proceedings?

In terms of s142A(2) of the LRA, the CCMA has the power to make a settlement agreement an arbitration award for the purpose of enforcement thereof, in terms of s143(1) of the LRA.  On the other hand, in terms of s158(1)(c) of the LRA, the labour court may make an arbitration award or any settlement agreement an order of court.  What are some of the differences between the approaches adopted in the aforesaid statutory provisions, recently identified by the labour court in National Union of Metalworkers of SA obo Kubane and Others v Kewberg Cables and Braids (Pty) Ltd (2019) 30 SALLR 218 (LC)?