Dispute over court president’s ‘bias’

The president of the industrial court hearing an application for the reinstatement of 1 000 sacked Sarmcol workers has refused an application that he withdraw from the case.

Lawyers acting for the Metal and Allied Workers Union and the dismissed workers cited Pierre Roux’s participation in a labour relations seminar organised by Andrew Levy and Associates – the labour relations consultancy which advised Sarmcol.

“This could indicate a bias to the reasonable lay observer,” advocate Martin Brassey mid the IC yesterday. Brassey noted the seminar, held in Johannesburg on May 2 was also addressed by Sarmcol’s legal team.

In refusing the application, Roux said it was part of the work of the Bench to attend conferences of the kind organised by Levy. 

Paul Benjamin, senior researcher at Wits University’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies, said it was reasonable for members of the industrial court to talk from public platforms.


However, “the fact that a member of the court gave an address to a group of consultants deeply involved in the same major and ongoing case as the president appears to have been perceived by the union in a certain way.” 

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail newspaper

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Advertising
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday