We are facing the public sector strike and although government has now moved to 6.8%, the Unions are still stuck at 10%. This public sector strike at this stage would be horrendous as the business community has a negative outlook in any event and the foreign investment community are watching our strike situation before they make any investment decisions.

The new black economic empowerment codes have now been withdrawn but it is suggested that the damage has been done. The action as taken by Minister Rob Davies is really strange and a phrase from Alice in Wonderland “curiosa and curiosa” comes to mind.

As the new labour laws become better known and the parties are doing their utmost to become more efficient with it there are more challenges arising at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The CCMA has approached Parliament to increase its budget quite substantially as they are expecting to hear at least double the amount of cases that they normally hear. Already the referrals are on the upward trend. It is believed that small business would suffer greatly from these amendments and despite the fact that the economy is not conducive to the development of small business we find our government in a situation where they are doing everything to hamper the development and growth of the small businesses. The CCMA has to be taken extremely seriously as a loss at the CCMA is not appealable and a small business can only go on review to challenge the ruling of the CCMA Commissioner. A review in some cases will mean that the small business or business of any nature in fact, would have to sometimes deposit up to twenty-four month’s salary as security. It must be stated that only employers will have to lodge security at the Labour Court and not the employees of the trade unions. This requirement of security might be completely unaffordable and hence the CCMA ruling applicable even if it is shockingly apparent that it is wrong.

It becomes all the more relevant for labour advisors, labour law firms and labour consultancies to ensure that they advise that they are giving their clients and members are fool proof. The advice must not only be legal but must also be practical. The age of the law firms having a labour division are disappearing, firms need to be highly specialised in the labour arena and must have access to not only the law but also the complete workings of institutions that activate and settle labour disputes. A labour consultancy such as Altitude Employment Solutions is firmly placed to ensure that the relationship between its clients and members and themselves can grow from strength to strength in order to face the onerous and backward looking labour amendments.