City of Cape Town v Imatu (C884/2014) [2015] ZALCCT 58; [2015] 12 BLLR 1197; (2016) ILJ 147 ; [2015] JOL 34136 (LC) (17 September 2015) per Rabkin-Naicker J.

The Labour Court declared the Disciplinary Procedure and Code Collective Agreement (2010) purportedly concluded by Imatu, Samwu and Salga on 21 April 2010 under the auspices of SALGBC invalid in terms of SALGBC’s constitution and accordingly did not bind the City of Cape Town.  The background facts are recorded in Salga v Imatu (JA46/2012) [2014] ZALAC 2; [2014] 6 BLLR 569; (2014) 35 ILJ 2811 (LAC) (4 March 2014)

Further issues were whether collective agreements:

  • that breach the constitution of a bargaining council can nevertheless be binding in terms of sec 23 of the LRA; and
  • entered into by parties to a bargaining council can be governed by both sections 31/32 and section 23 of the LRA?

The Labour Court remarked that the very purpose of establishing bargaining councils and concluding collective agreements was to regulate sectoral bargaining  The binding nature of collective agreements concluded by parties to those councils is governed by specific provisions in the LRA, set out in Part C of Chapter 3 headed “Bargaining Councils”.  The Labour Court held that there was a distinction between collective agreements concluded inside and outside bargaining councils, which are governed by sec 23 of the LRA.  The former are clothed with statutory enforcement mechanisms provided for in sec 33A of the LRA.  They are of a special type.  They cannot ‘morph’ into sec 23 collective agreements. So the parties cannot enforce them ‘across a sector invalidating the inherent purpose of the conclusion of a collective agreement in a bargaining council’.