South Africa > Labour and employment
Labour and employment
Cheadle Thompson & Haysom Inc
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Perrott . Van Niekerk . Woodhouse . Matyolo Inc
The ‘fabulous’ Bowman Gilfillan is commended for its ‘strategic thinking’, ‘industry knowledge’ and ‘going the extra mile’ for clients. It has substantial experience in representing clients in the higher education, food and beverages, hospitality, retail, transport, and banking sectors. The practice has been closely involved with advising on strike actions, and represented Pick n Pay Retailers in a major restructuring and unfair dismissal cases. It also advises on executive dismissals, most notably for public sector clients, and employee benefits, which is an area of expertise for Rosemary Hunter. Graham Damant is ‘highly skilled’ and ‘experienced’, Robin Carr is ‘an excellent litigator’, and Chris Todd is ‘highly intelligent’ and ‘forward-thinking’. Karen Fulton is also recommended.
ENS (Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs) experienced a considerable upswing in employment disputes, particularly in the mining, hospitality and telecoms sectors. The firm advised Impala Platinum during trade union industrial action, and continued to represent South African Airways’ board of directors in a breach of fiduciary duty action against the former CEO. Department head Stuart Harrison, Fritz Malan, Brian Patterson, and Ross Alcock are the senior figures, along with recent arrival Dion Masher, who was previously head of employment at Bell Dewar.
Norton Rose South Africa (Incorporated as Deneys Reitz Inc) has a leading presence in senior executive terminations and employment matters relating to commercial transactions, including employee transfers, as well as strike action. The practice draws its clients from the mining, food, transport, and retail industries, as well as the public sector. It recently advised ABSA on transferring Edcon’s employees to ABSA as part of a major transaction. Hermann Nieuwoudt, Joe Mothibi, Murray Alexander, Sibusiso Gule and Brian Denny are recommended.
DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, which provides ‘excellent response times’, ‘strong business acumen’ and ‘superb service’, has been active in trade union and collective bargaining matters, most notably in the mining sector, but also has experience in the finance, telecoms and aviation sectors, and frequently represents parastatals. Fiona Leppan is ‘one of the top labour lawyers in the country’, and is ‘good at demonstrating both sides of difficult cases’, enabling clients to make ‘informed decisions’. The team includes ‘excellent litigator’ Aadil Patel, who delivers ‘practical and excellent advice’. The ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘thorough’ Faan Coetzee and Gillian Lumb are also highly recommended.
The ‘excellent’ Glyn Marais is the ‘best we have ever used’, according to one client. The highly knowledgeable and experienced Hugo Pienaar, who acts for a number of multinationals and major domestic companies, recently represented Cricket South Africa and its board in disciplinary proceedings against its suspended CEO. He also acted for Exxaro Coal Mpumalanga during a major strike. Mohsina Chenia is particularly experienced in contentious matters.
Webber Wentzel has doubled the size of its employment team, in the process expanding its health and safety and employee benefits expertise. New hires include Johan Olivier and his team, who joined from Brink Cohen Le Roux. The ‘practical’ and ‘pragmatic’ Claire Gaul, Pamela Stein and Nick Robb are key figures in the practice.
Werksmans Attorneys’ practice spans transactions, disputes and compliance. The firm has been closely involved in major strike actions, such as representing Murray & Roberts in a mass dismissal dispute involving 3,000 employees. Immensely experienced department head Anastasia Vatalidis is supported Bradley Workman-Davies and Jacques van Wyk.
Based across Johannesburg and Cape Town, Cheadle Thompson & Haysom Inc is widely regarded as a leading practice for employee and trade union matters. It represents some of the biggest unions in South Africa. Reynaud Daniels ‘understands the union movement’. Paul Benjamin in Cape Town is ‘very good’.
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP inherited its highly regarded practice from Bell Dewar. As well as general employment work, the team is recommended for pensions and employee benefits advice, with a particular forte in mining industry issues. Clients highlight the team’s ‘expertise’, ‘ethical, concise support’, and attention to ‘customer satisfaction’. Ludwig Frahm-Arp is ‘outstanding’, ‘practical’ and ‘easy to understand’, and Nigel Carman is also recommended.
Mahons Attorneys has robust expertise in employment law matters, with senior figure Peter van Niekerk having a fine reputation. Among the more junior lawyers, Sandro Milo is ‘really bright and an excellent, fearless litigator, with a real depth of knowledge’.
Perrott . Van Niekerk . Woodhouse . Matyolo Inc’s niche practice covers general human resources matters as well as industrial relations and disputes. It has a strong presence in Cape Town, where name partner Rob Perrott is based.
Routledge Modise is widely recognised for the strength of its advice relating to strike action, an area in which ‘intuitive mind’ Imraan Mahomed is recommended. The firm has recently represented major corporates in trade union disputes work. Lavery Modise is also highly regarded.