Section 33 of the Labour Relations Act provides for the appointment of designated officers to a bargaining board to promote, monitor and enforce collective agreements within that board. As a result, the Legal and Compliance Manager and the Compliance Inspector, as well as certain other Board staff, have been appointed by the Ministry of Labour to perform these functions. In 2013, the South African Chamber of Mines conducted negotiations on salaries and terms of service on behalf of its members in the gold mining sector. The mining companies represented by the Chamber of Mines were Harmony Gold, AngloGold Ashanti and Sibanye Gold. The Chamber of Mines entered into these negotiations with the National Union of MetalWorkers (NUM), Solidarity and the United Association of South Africa (UASA), which represented the majority of workers in this sector. The applicant, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), was also invited to those negotiations, since it represented a minority of workers throughout the sector, but was predominantly represented in certain individual mines. These negotiations culminated in a collective agreement accepted and approved by all parties except the AMCU. This agreement covered wages and other conditions of employment. In addition, the agreement expressly established that it was an agreement concluded in Section 23(1)(d).
Among other things, it found that no party bound by the agreement could request a strike or lockout on the issues addressed in the agreement as long as it existed. Although the collective agreement explicitly concerned about all employees of the mining companies represented, AMCU argued that its members were not bound by the agreement, as it was not a party. It is perhaps fair to say that the issues raised by the AMCU were legitimate and coincided with the dignity and livelihoods of minors. The union has demanded a base salary of R12,500 for its members (Mapenzauswa and Shabalala “AMCU accepts new salary offer from Sibanye Gold” April 10, 2016 Moneyweb accessing www.moneyweb.co.za/news/companies-and-deals/amcu-accepts-sibanye-gold-new-wage-offer/ (called 2018-06-08)). For the purposes of the definition in section 213, the test for determining whether two or more jobs are held by the same employer requires consideration of their size, function or organization. The meaning given to a word in relation to this section applies to the entire law, unless the context in which it is used indicates otherwise (AMCU vs. Chamber of Mines acting in its own name &obo Harmony Gold Mining supra by 49-51). The finding that the legal definition applies to the concept of `workplace` means that the extension of collective agreements within the meaning of Article 23(1)(d) covers all staff, irrespectless of geographical location. As decided by the Constitutional Court, the “place of work” provided for in Article 23(1)(d) is the same as that provided for in Article 213.
Although the General Court did not take these factors into account individually, the judgment shows that they were taken into consideration.