Research Handbook on Labour, Business and Human Rights Law
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Research Handbook on Labour, Business and Human Rights Law

Edited by Janice R. Bellace and Beryl ter Haar

Inquisitive and diverse, this innovative Research Handbook explores the ways in which human rights apply to people at work, through national constitutional provisions, judicial decisions and the application of rights expressed in supranational instruments. Key topics include evaluation of the role of the ILO in developing and promoting internationally recognized labour rights, and the examination of the meaning of the obligation of business to respect human rights, considering the evolution from international soft law to incorporation in codes of conduct and the emerging requirement of due diligence.
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Chapter 10: Human rights in the evolution of South African labour law

Darcy du Toit and Mariam Sirkhotte

Abstract

South Africa’s transition from a racist autocracy to a constitutional democracy was one of the most dramatic political transformations of recent times. Crucially, the new Constitution contained a ‘labour clause’ entrenching individual and collective labour rights. However, compliance with the Constitution meant compliance not only with the labour clause but with the entire Bill of Rights and international law. The chapter examines how the legislature has translated human rights into statutory provisions and how the courts have interpreted those provisions in giving effect to the underlying human rights which they embody. In some cases, it is noted, reference to human rights through the prism of the labour clause meant a narrowing down of those rights in the labour context whereas in other cases it led to a more generous interpretation of statutory labour rights.

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