What is Labour Law?

“Skills On Site” wants to allow readers to understand certain issues more clearly. The writer of our “Legal” matters is Nico Pienaar, who holds a Master’s Degree in Labour Law and Industrial Relations, has an Honours Degrees in Human Resources and Training and is a registered Mediator.
Various subjects will be covered during the next few editions.
This month we will deal with, what is labour law? The articles won’t be a legal opinion, but rather easy to read information sharing.
If is often found when talking to people that they think all law is similar. You have probably heard the threat that “you will hear from my lawyer”. The response back has always been that “hope he is a labour lawyer”. A divorce lawyer is used when you want to get divorced, a criminal lawyer when you have committed a criminal offence and so it is when you have a labour problem. Get the correct specialist involved.

So what is this subject of labour law?
Labour law plays an important role in our society and in business. It is often found that there are individuals working in companies who view themselves as “labour law” experts. Check on this, a half-baked knowledge person is dangerous.
Those who do specialise in labour law should always be able to see things from both sides. The writer in his past worked as a General Secretary of a Trade Union. This allowed the thinking process to be adapted to understand the employee’s side, the Trade Union side and that of Management.
There are many highly specialised areas in labour law. When looking at some companies, you can see that often documents were developed by some “chancer”. Remember this field is part of the law, a contract of employment, codes of conduct and other documents are legal documents and must be properly drafted as when they land up in court, they will be tested.

Being fair
Being fair to employees and employers is a big requirement for Labour and Industrial specialists – try to understand and see the other parties’ side. There is as they say, two sides to the story, and then the truth.
Other specialist fields of law also have a great impact on Labour Law. The writer has always maintained that a good Labour/Industrial Relations person in a company knows everything that is happening in the company, as long as he/she speaks to the workers at all levels. People share information easily.

Checking qualifications
In short in conclusion, what other parts of law play a role in the Labour Law field?
There is Commercial Law as this deals with Partnerships, Private Companies, Consultancy, Agreements, Management Agreements, Loan Agreements, Cessions and letters of suretyship.
Then there is Criminal Law and here issues such as checking qualifications, past employment history and criminal records are dealt with.
Mediation in addition is needed to avoid costly litigation.
This is a wide-ranging field, for sure!.