Determining the True Reason for an Alleged Section 187(1)(c) Dismissal: A Discussion of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa v Aveng Trident Steel (a Division of Aveng Africa (Pty) Ltd) (2021) 42 ILJ 67 (CC)

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2021/v24i0a10517

Keywords:

Automatically unfair dismissal, operational requirements, causation test, section 187(1)(c), demand, refusal to accept a demand

Abstract

On 27 October 2020, the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa v Aveng Trident Steel (A Division of Aveng Africa (Pty) Ltd) 2021 42 ILJ 67 (CC). Following the judgment, it is now commonplace that the amendment to section 187(1)(c) of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 does not preclude an employer from dismissing employees for a permissible reason, such as its operational requirements, should they refuse to accept a demand.

The court confirmed that in cases such as this where they are faced with two opposing reasons for the dismissal, an impermissible reason on the one hand and a permissible reason on the other, an enquiry must be conducted into what the true reason for the dismissal is. However, the approach to be followed in conducting this enquiry caused dissent. Half of the judges were of the view that the correct approach is to follow the causation test set out in SA Chemical Workers Union v Afrox Ltd 1999 20 ILJ 1718 (LAC), while the other half disavowed reliance on the causation test. Instead, they opted to support the enquiry conducted in Chemical Workers Industrial Union v Algorax (Pty) Ltd 2003 24 ILJ 1917 (LAC).

This case note seeks to establish which approach should be followed in determining the true reason for an alleged section 187(1)(c) automatically unfair dismissal.

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References

Bibliography

Literature

Burns Y "Subordinate Legislation and the Audi Alteram Partem Rule" 1991 SAPL 282-285

Cohen T "Onus of Proof in Automatically Unfair Dismissals - Janda v First National Bank (2006) 27 ILJ 2627 (LC)" 2007 ILJ 1465-1471

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Newaj K "Can Employees be Fairly Dismissed for Refusing to Accept a Demand? A Discussion of National Union of Metalworkers of SA & Others v Aveng Trident Steel (A Division of Aveng Africa (Pty) Ltd) & Another (2019) 40 ILJ 2024 (LAC)" 2020 ILJ 834-845

Newaj K and Van Eck BPS "Automatically Unfair and Operational Requirement Dismissals: Making Sense of the 2014 Amendments " 2016 PELJ 1-30

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Van Niekerk A and Smit N Law@work 5th ed (LexisNexis Durban 2019)

Case law

Administrator of the Transvaal v Traub 1989 10 ILJ 823 (A)

Chemical Workers Industrial Union v Algorax (Pty) Ltd 2003 24 ILJ 1917 (LAC)

Kroukam v SA Airlink (Pty) Ltd 2005 26 ILJ 2153 (LAC)

Long v Prism Holdings Ltd 2012 33 ILJ 1402 (LAC)

Mdwaba v Nonxuba 2018 ZAGPJHC 44 (9 March 2018)

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa v Aveng Trident Steel (A Division of Aveng Africa (Pty) Ltd) 2021 42 ILJ 67 (CC)

National Union of Metalworkers of SA v Aveng Trident Steel (A Division of Aveng Africa (Pty) Ltd) 2019 40 ILJ 2024 (LAC)

National Union of Metalworkers of SA obo Members v Aveng Trident Steel (A Division of Aveng Africa) (Pty) Ltd 2018 39 ILJ 1625 (LC)

National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa v Fry's Metals (Pty) Ltd 2005 26 ILJ 689 (SCA)

SA Chemical Workers Union v Afrox Ltd 1999 20 ILJ 1718 (LAC)

State Information Technology Agency (Pty) Ltd v Sekgobela 2012 33 ILJ 2374 (LAC)

TFD Network Africa (Pty) Ltd v Faris 2019 40 ILJ 326 (LAC)

Van der Velde v Business & Design Software (Pty) Ltd 2006 10 BLLR 1004 (LC)

Legislation

Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995

Published

2021-10-13

How to Cite

Newaj, K. (2021). Determining the True Reason for an Alleged Section 187(1)(c) Dismissal: A Discussion of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa v Aveng Trident Steel (a Division of Aveng Africa (Pty) Ltd) (2021) 42 ILJ 67 (CC). Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 24, 1–20. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2021/v24i0a10517

Issue

Section

Case Notes