What Is The Labour Relations Act And What Is Its Purpose?

Labour laws and practices have been a major point of concern ever since people discovered the concept of labour, or working for employers. South Africa has seen a renewed focus on wage negotiations and minimum wage legislation in recent times as well.


All of this has led more people to ask what the Labour Relations Act is, and what its purpose is, which is what we will look at here.

What is the Labour Relations Act?


According to the Department of Labour, the Act “aims to promote economic development, social justice, labour peace and democracy in the workplace.”


This Act is a legal document, signed into action by Parliament, to promote and ensure safe and fair labour practices. For instance, with the recent strikes, the Act regulates the right to strike in a legal manner as well as providing procedures for the resolution of such labour disputes (which is vital to recovering normal working conditions).

What is its purpose?


Chapter 1 of the Labour Relations Act, Section 1, states that the purpose of the Act is to advance the aims mentioned above by fulfilling the primary objectives of the Act, which are:


  • To give effect to and regulate the fundamental rights conferred by section 27 of the Constitution.



  • To provide a framework within which employers, employees and trade unions can form policies and collectively bargain to determine various aspects of employment and related interests.


  • To promote orderly collective bargaining at a sectoral level, as well as employee participation in decision making processes and effective labour dispute resolutions.

The Act in a nutshell


From the above information, taken from the Act, we can see that the Act and its purpose can be summed up as a legal standard for fair and democratic employment practices and the effective resolution of labour disputes.


As with any legal matters, if there is any doubt as to whether your business is fully compliant to the Labour Act then you should consult a labour relations expert.


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