Test applicable to the interpretation of collective agreements

Posted: December 12, 2011 in Uncategorized
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In South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) v South African Local Government Association [2011] ZALAC 22 Mlambo JP at para [15] found that a collective agreement should be interpreted in line with the dicta in National Education Health and Allied Workers Union v University of Cape Town and Others [2002] ZACC 27; 2003 (3) SA 1 (CC) the Constitutional Court at para 41 stated that “[t]he declared purpose of the LRA ‘is to advance economic development, social justice, labour peace and the democratisation of the workplace’. This is to be achieved by fulfilling its primary objects, which include giving effect to s 23 of the Constitution. It lays down the parameters of its interpretation by enjoining those responsible for its application to interpret it in compliance with the Constitution and South Africa’s international obligations. The LRA must therefore be purposively construed in order to give effect to the Constitution”.

Mlambo JP then at para [16] gave an indication of exactly how the said dicta should be applied by recording that the commissioner presiding “proceeded to interpret the agreement in a practical manner that he deemed was fair and equitable in those circumstances” applicable.

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