Case Notes: Compliance with a Fair Procedure? Rescued from Another Dimension to the LRA: Reflecting on Solidarity on behalf of Members v Barloworld Equipment Southern Africa & others (2022) 43 ILJ 1757 (CC)

Author Rochelle le Roux

ISSN: 2413-9874
Affiliations: Professor, Department of Commercial Law, University of Cape Town
Source: Industrial Law Journal, Volume 44 Issue 3, 2023, p. 1444 – 1462


Unfairness, as regulated by the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA), assumes a distinction between substantive unfairness and procedural unfairness. It was always taken as a given that this divide was maintained in s 189A of the LRA which regulates large-scale operational requirements dismissals (retrenchments). Nonetheless, recent Labour Court jurisprudence proposed that s 189A(13) of the LRA introduced a further dimension to the LRA and specifically large-scale retrenchments, namely, compliance with a fair procedure (as something distinct from procedural fairness). This proposition was rejected by the Constitutional Court in Solidarity obo Members v Barloworld Equipment Southern Africa & others (2022) 43 ILJ 1757 (CC). Apart from exploring the Constitutional Court’s reasoning, this note revisits the distinction between procedural unfairness and substantive unfairness in the case of retrenchment and the difficulties presented by it, and further reflects on a number of collateral issues raised by this judgment — among others, the Labour Court’s jurisdiction regarding disclosure of information in the context of s 189A(13) of the LRA.