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Labour issues are dealt with by the Labour Courts and the South African Labour Court of Appeal. The first milestone in modern labour law was the British Health and Morals of Apprentices Act of 1802, sponsored by elder Sir Robert Peel. Similar laws for the protection of youth were adopted in Zurich in 1815 and in France in 1841. Until 1848, the first legal limit on the working time of adults was decided by the Landsgemeinde of the Swiss canton of Glarus. Health insurance and workers` compensation were promoted by Germany in 1883 and 1884, and compulsory arbitration in labour disputes was introduced in New Zealand in the 1890s. Progress in labour legislation outside Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand was slow until after the First World War. The most industrialized states in the United States began enacting such laws in the late 19th century, but most U.S. labor laws today were not passed until after the Great Depression of the 1930s. Before the October Revolution of 1917, there was virtually no labor legislation in Russia. In India, children aged 7 to 12 were limited to nine hours of work per day in 1881 and adult men in textile factories to 10 hours a day in 1911, but the first major breakthrough was the amendment of the Factories Act in 1922 to enact the conventions adopted at the first session of the International Labour Conference in Washington. D.C., in 1919. In Japan, rudimentary regulations on mining work were introduced in 1890, but a draft law on factories was controversial for 30 years before being passed in 1911, and the crucial step was the revision of this law in 1923 to enact the Washington Convention on Working Time in Industry. Labor legislation in Latin America began in Argentina in the early years of the century and received a strong impetus from the Mexican Revolution that ended in 1917, but as in North America, the trend became general only with the effects of the Great Depression.

In Africa, advances in labour legislation did not become significant until the 1940s. In the early stages of development, the scope of labour law is often limited to the most developed and important sectors, enterprises of a certain size and employees; As a general rule, these restrictions are gradually being abolished and the scope of the law is extended to handicrafts, rural industry and agriculture, small enterprises, office workers and, in some countries, civil servants. Thus, a set of laws originally aimed at protecting workers in industrial enterprises is gradually transformed into a broader set of legal principles and norms that have essentially two functions: the protection of the worker as a weaker party in the employment relationship and the regulation of relations between organized interest groups (industrial relations). Unlike the laws of some other countries, collective agreements are generally legally enforceable, for example between employers and trade unions. The Industrial Relations Act No. 66 of 1995 (“LRA”) supports the primacy of collective agreements and stresses the need for organized workers and enterprises to regulate their relations by concluding collective agreements that are binding on the employer, union members and, if the union represents more than 50% of employees in a workplace and such an intention is expressed. Non-unionized workers in the workplace. In 1994, the Ministry of Labour appointed a ministerial legal task force to draft new labour laws, and the Industrial Relations Act 66 of 1995 was established and entered into force on 11 November 1996. The law heralded a new era in South African labour law. Point 2(1) of Annex 7 to the LRA recognises the concept of `remaining unfair labour practices`. The law defines the term as any act or omission that occurs between the employer and the employee and includes the following: The general trend in the modern development of labor law has been the strengthening of legal requirements and collective contractual relations to the detriment of rights and obligations arising from individual employment relationships. The importance of the latter depends, of course, on the degree of personal freedom in the given society, as well as on the autonomy of the employer and the employee made possible by the actual functioning of the economy.

In areas such as working time, health and safety conditions or industrial relations, legal or collective elements may define most of the content of the rights and obligations of the individual worker, while in relation to elements such as the duration of his appointment, his level and area of responsibility or his place in the pay scale, these elements can essentially provide a framework for individual agreements. Damages and compensation awarded are generally limited to 24 months (in the case of automatically unjustified dismissals) and 12 months (in the case of unjustified dismissals) and are not closely linked to financial losses. The main remedy in South African labour law, unlike England and other jurisdictions, is reinstatement. The legal recognition of the right to organize for trade union purposes has a special history. There is no other aspect of labour law in which successive periods of progress and regression have been more strongly influenced by political changes and considerations. The legal ban on such an association was lifted in 1824 in the United Kingdom and in 1884 in France; There have been many subsequent legislative changes and there may well be other changes, but these were about details rather than fundamental principles. In the United States, freedom of association for union purposes remained precarious and was subject to the unpredictable scope of the work order by which the courts helped to restrict union activity until the 1930s. The breakthrough for the union and collective bargaining was achieved by the National Industrial Relations Act (Wagner Act) of 1935. In many other countries, the record of progress and regression in freedom of association is part of clearly defined periods, separated by decisive political changes. This was certainly the case in Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and much of Eastern Europe; There have been many illustrations of this, and there may well be others in the developing world. After the 1914 general strike, martial law was declared and union leaders were expelled from South Africa.

The “peace of work” that followed was short-lived, as the circumstances of the mines deteriorated due to the economic depression, high external debt and the rising cost of living. The mines responded with restructuring. This led to the firing of a number of white workers, which led to the abolition of the relationship between skilled white workers and unskilled black workers in the mines.

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