Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Transnational Labour Law

Research Handbook on Transnational Labour Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Adelle Blackett and Anne Trebilcock

The editors’ substantive introduction and the specially commissioned chapters in the Handbook explore the emergence of transnational labour law as a field, along with its contested contours. The expansion of traditional legal methods, such as treaties, is juxtaposed with the proliferation of contemporary alternatives such as indicators, framework agreements and consumer-led initiatives. Key international and regional institutions are studied for their coverage of such classic topics as freedom of association, equality, and sectoral labour standard-setting, as well as for the space they provide for dialogue. The volume underscores transnational labour law’s capacity to build bridges, including on migration, climate change and development.

Chapter 32: Social regionalism in the Southern Africa Development Community: The international, regional and national interplay of labour alternative dispute resolution mechanisms

Pamhidzai H. Bamu and Rutendo Mudarikwa

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, labour, employment law, public international law


The Southern African Development Community region (SADC) has seen a trend toward applying Alternative Dispute Settlement (ADR) systems to labour disputes. This chapter first looks at the social and human rights dimensions of SADC, highlighting its history, its character and some of the controversies surrounding the notion of SADC supra-nationalism. The second section describes the actors in the harmonization process, underlying causes and the driving forces, highlighting the limited role played by SADC in driving the adoption and harmonization of ADR systems in the region. Instead, the ILO, South Africa, and local initiatives have been the key drivers of labour law reform in the context of its activities to improve labour law and promote decent work. This section also explains the form and content of the labour dispute settlement within selected SADC states, specifically the status, jurisdiction, timelines, procedures, enforceability, and costs of the respective systems. The fourth section provides an evaluation of the performance of the labour ADR systems in SADC. The fifth section considers the strengths and weaknesses of regionalism in SADC. On the whole, the adoption of labour ADR systems in SADC States represents an improvement over the resolution of labour disputes through litigation. But the assumption that access to resources is the only determinant of the success or failure of ADR systems appears to be overly simplistic, and the legal provisions governing ADR and the imperatives to provide speedy dispute resolution also risk resulting in unintended consequences.

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