As we head into what will, in all likelihood, be yet another challenging labour relations year, what with a raft of new labour laws and expected heightened industrial action, it is worth re-familiarising oneself with certain of the jargon and terms which are so often used in the labour relations environment.

The CCMA and Bargaining Councils, on occasion, schedule so-called In limine hearings which are described as “a hearing on a specific legal point, which takes place before the actual case referred, can be heard. It is a process that addresses the technical legal points, which are raised prior to getting into the merits of the case, and relates to matters of jurisdiction” (Source: CCMA web site).  A common example of a CCMA In limine hearing would relate to an application by an applicant for the CCMA to condone the late referral of a dispute.  The In limine hearing would first be heard so that a Ruling can be made on whether, or not, the late referral is to be ‘condoned’ prior to the hearing proper proceeding.

Sufficient representation is the term used in the LRA to describe the amount of union representation, which is equal to or in excess of 30% of the legible union members, but less than majority membership.  Trade unions which acquire sufficient representation, qualify for controlled access onto the employer’s premises, and the employer is obligated to deduct union membership fees on behalf of the union. Sufficient representation does not entitle a union to the appointment of statutory shop stewards, and neither does it typically entitle a union to collective bargaining rights (both of which do become a feature of majority representation).

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