As we enter the new year, it already appears that 2014 will be fraught with difficulties and in particular labour strikes at least up until the elections at the end of April 2014.

Already the Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant has said that she is giving top priority to the labour law amendments, we can expect that sooner rather than later, it will certainly be in the first half of this year.  The Labour Minister has proposed two new dispute resolution mechanisms i.e. compulsory and interest arbitration.  She wants to add this to the labour law.  It would mean that if there is a possibility of a strike in an essential service or in an industry that could upset the economy she will force the parties to go to arbitration before any strike action.  This will create havoc with the trade union movement and will certainly be challenged in court.

What we are seeing is at least a concerted effort by the government to concentrate on the labour problems.

It has also been said that there will be very little job growth this year and in fact we will probably see more short term contracts of employment in most industries.

It is clear that because of the increase in labour costs employers are creating fewer jobs.  There is now talk about a national minimum wage will send a negative message out to the international business community.

Despite all this, many of the industries are looking at growth in turnover and others are working smarter leading to jobless growth.

Despite all our troubles there is a strong feeling that once the elections have been completed we will return to business as usual.

Some interesting court cases to follow will be the constitutional case filed by Solidarity Trade Union against the South African Police Services about the police affirmative action appointments and there will possibly be a challenge to the Youth Wage Subsidy.

On the newspaper front, labour analyst Terry Bell has had his column stopped by the Business Report and this looks like a response to the dispute between Cosatu and the ANC.

The CCMA in Cape Town is moving to Zealand House in Adderley Street, this move should be completed by the 1st March 2014.  The CCMA reports that the majority of the cases are single dismissal cases and that over 70% of them are resolved at conciliation phase.

Altitude Employment Solutions has been recognised as one of the foremost business representatives at the CCMA and the Commissioners are grateful for the conciliatory work done by Altitude.