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Industrial Relations Conference 2021



Two-day Conference | 27 and 28 May 2021

Industrial and workplace relations is a highly complex area, especially following the COVID-19 outbreak. Significant changes have taken place throughout the organisation (ranging from remote and flexible work practices to greater automation and even employee mental health issues). It’s critical for HR and IR/ER professionals to understand the implications of the current environment.

The speakers and topics at our upcoming Industrial Relations Conference have been carefully selected to reflect these new trends in the South African Industrial Relations (IR) landscape. This conference will focus on the changing IR environment: The new realities, challenges and approaches. It will also provide the ideal opportunity for IR and ER practitioners, trade unionists and government officials, HR and labour practitioners, lawyers and business leaders to unpack pertinent issues in the labour market and to participate in discussions to resolve some of the current employment challenges.

Who should attend?

  • Industrial, labour and employee relations managers
  • HR directors
  • Senior HR managers
  • Labour lawyers
  • Trade union officials
  • IR/ER Consultants
  • Academics/Researchers in the IR/ER field

Why should you attend?

  • Get to grips with the new industrial relations realities and challenges emanating from the COVID-19 crisis
  • Discover the employers and employees’ obligations and rights when considering continuous flexible working
  • Understand the legalities around requiring employees to take the vaccine
  • Learn more about the impact of post-COVID on trade unions
  • Hear more about the employment contract in the new world of work
  • Understand the implications of restructuring and redundancy during and post-COVID
  • Learn how to manage performance in remote/hybrid working environment
  • Learn more about the facts and fiction surrounding medical incapacity
  • Find out how to reduce the risk of unfair dismissal and adverse action claims in our current environment
  • Learn how to protect your organisation’s privacy at home and the workplace
  • Discover how to manage bullying and harassment in the workplace
  • Join two highly-interactive panel discussions during this two-day conference


For more information about the Seminar, please contact Katie van der Schyff on or +27 11 706 6009.


To book your seat contact Magdeline Matlatse on +2711 706 6009 |


DAY ONE • 27 MAY 2021


Welcome and introduction


WFH – Remote and Flexible Working

  • Where do the rights, objectives and costs fall?
    • Discovering your obligations and options when considering continuous flexible working
    • Looking at liabilities detailing what should be in your employment policies and where your obligations lie as an employer.
    • Cost implications – considering the cost of working remotely cost provisioning on both the employer and employee.

Johan Botes, Head of Baker McKenzie’s Employment Practice Group


Covid-19 Vaccination – the rights of Employees and Employers

  • Can Employers compel Employees to take the vaccine?
  • Legal considerations before engaging in a companywide vaccination program?

Shane Johnson, Professional Support Lawyer, Webber Wentzel

Mehnaaz Bux, Partner, Webber Wentzel

10:45–11:00 Morning break


Industrial Relations Realities and Challenges emanating from the COVID-19 Crisis

Professor Tony Dobbins, Department of Management. Professor of Work and Employment Relations, Director of MSc HRM Programmes at Birmingham Business School


Post Covid-19 and the Impact on Trade Unions – Responding to the New World of Work

  • Unemployment
  • Greater Automation
  • Flexible Work Practices
  • Gig Economy

Abey Kgotle, Executive Director: HR, Mercedes-Benz
Gideon Du Plessis, General Secretary, Solidarity

13:00–14:00 Lunch break


The Employment Contract in the New World of Work

  • Flexible work Practices
  • Hybrid Work
  • Gig jobs across International Borders
  • Reducing Income / Salaries
Jan Nel, Labour Lawyer

Restructuring and Redundancy during and Post Covid-19

Ulrich Stander, Director, Maserumule

Hear from Co A, Co B and Co C about their experiences during these tough times and how they managed to overcome this:

16:15–16:30 Close and wrap up of day one


DAY TWO • 28 MAY 2021


Welcome back and introduction


Managing Performance in remote / hybrid working practices

  • Privacy implications and legality of “Spy Ware”
  • Allowing for mental health pressures
  • Keeping employees to agreed outcomes
  • The Hybrid performance reviews process

The facts and fiction surrounding medical incapacity

  • Defining Medical Incapacity
  • The effect of Mental Health, burnout and stress – compounding factors on performance to consider when discussing medical incapacity
  • Discussing the options beyond your obligations when it comes to medical incapacity

10:45–11:00 Morning break


How to reduce the risk of unfair dismissal and adverse action claims in the current environment

  • Covid-19 issues
  • Update on recent developments regarding unfair dismissals
  • Ensuring compliance throughout the termination process
Ivan Israelstam, CEO, Labour Law Advice (Author of LABOUR LANDMINES: 99 WAYS TO WIN AT THE CCMA, Published by KR, April 2019)


PANEL DISCUSSION: Reviewing the Labour Market, economy impacting employment and industrial relations

  • Assessing the effect of increased unemployment and transient workforce
  • Analysing the sectors most impacted
  • Are we moving towards a gig economy?
  • What are the implications?
  • How Labour Laws may need to change to face the realities of the New World of Work

Arthur Kamp, Chief Economist, Sanlam Asset Management
Wilhelm Crous, MD, KR

13:00-14:00 Lunch break


Protecting the organisations’ privacy at home and the workplace

  • Exploring the evolving privacy landscape
  • Managing privacy for an ongoing working agreement
  • Privacy and security – what does this look like in a flexible environment
  • Data breaches and unsecured networks – mitigating these risks in remote environments
Speaker to be confirmed - Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Managing Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace

  • What is the law on Workplace Bullying?
  • What is the law on Sexual Harassment?
  • Outlining your obligations as an employer to your staff
  • Strategies and best practices to managing complaints
  • Change Corporate Culture to create awareness and positive behaviours
  • Preventative measures

Dr Angela Du Plessis, Mediator, Labour Relations and Organisational Development Consultant

15:15–15:30 Close and wrap up of conference


Johan Botes, Head of Baker McKenzie’s Employment Practice Group
Johan Botes heads Baker McKenzie’s Employment Practice Group in Johannesburg. Johan is experienced in employment law and labour relations, focusing on South African and sub-Saharan African employment law and employee relations. He regularly advises multinational clients on industrial relations, employment negotiations, labour dispute resolution, change management, and organisational restructuring.
Shane Johnson, Professional Support Lawyer, Webber Wentzel
Shane supports the employment and health & safety teams by preparing know-how, precedents and templates; analysing the latest developments in the law, researching points of law; producing newsletters for clients, assisting with business development initiatives (which may involve client seminars and marketing events) and co-ordinating training initiatives internally and for clients. Shane completed his articles of clerkship (where he gained experience in employment, immigration and competition law). He then worked in graduate recruitment for a number of years before deciding to return to legal practice in a support role.
Mehnaaz Bux, Partner, Webber Wentzel
Mehnaaz specialises in employment law related matters including labour litigation and employment advisory work relating to individual and collective labour law. She has acted for a variety of clients, including individuals, national and multi-national companies in both the public and private sectors. Her experience includes: unfair dismissals, unfair discrimination, collective bargaining, organisational rights and unfair labour practice disputes. She also assists with drafting pleadings, employment contracts, settlement agreements, urgent applications and opinions.
Professor Tony Dobbins, Department of Management. Professor of Work and Employment Relations, Director of MSc HRM Programmes at Birmingham Business School
Tony is Professor of Work and Employment Relations at University of Birmingham, UK. Tony has over twenty years’ industrial relations experience as an academic, researcher, and journalist in the UK and Republic of Ireland. He is President of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association; Visiting Professor at Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland; Visiting Professor at Centre for Labour Studies, University of Malta. Tony’s research in work and employment includes: employee voice and silence, trade unions; living wages/low pay; decent work; conflict and cooperation; employment and skills in labour markets; futures of work. His research is published worldwide in journals, books and multiple media outlets.
Abey Kgotle, Executive Director: HR, Mercedes-Benz
Abey Kgotle, Executive Director of Human Resources at Mercedes-Benz South Africa, joined the company after a 10-year stint at platinum mining company Lonmin, which he left after working his way up to become the Executive Vice President of Human Resources. Prior to joining Lonmin, he worked in human resource management roles at GrafTech South Africa, City of Johannesburg, Samancor Manganese and Denel. He has extensive experience in human resource management, labour relations, community investment, and stakeholder relations. He holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree from the North-West University and a Masters Diploma in Human Resources from the University of Johannesburg.
Gideon Du Plessis, General Secretary, Solidarity
Gideon du Plessis is the General Secretary of trade union Solidarity (joined 2008) and the head of the Solidarity Strategy Institute. Before joining Solidarity, Gideon was employed by Compass Group PLC, as Group Employee Relations Manager: Africa. Gideon started his professional career in 1994 at the Department of Constitutional Development as a Senior Constitutional Planner and was mainly involved in conducting global constitutional research in support of the drafting of the South African Constitution. Gideon recently obtained a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Labour Policy and Globalisation from the University of the Witwatersrand. Gideon frequently writes opinion pieces for newspapers and business magazines – he has a labour column in the Sunday paper Rapport. Gideon is registered as a Master HR Professional with the SA Board of People Practices (SABPP).
Jan Nel, Labour Lawyer
Jan Nel has extensive experience of Labour Relations and Labour Law, in which he has been specialising over the last 30 years, Jan Kemp Nel (BA, LLB (UP) and DipLR (Unisa)) has developed and introduced procedures and systems designed for optimal quality in Labour Relations in all areas of industry, commerce, public service and agriculture. In particular, he advocates and practises a preventative philosophy in respect of Labour Relations, recognising that conflict is inherent and should be dealt with by proactive methods.
Ulrich Stander, Director, Maserumule
Managing Partner of Maserumule Corporate Employment law. He has been practising as an employment law and employment relations lawyer for more than 25 years. He focuses on conflict resolution, mediation, negotiations and leadership training. He acts in an advisory capacity on employment law strategy and policy-making for corporations in the financial services, media, fishing, retail, e-commerce, transport and other industries. Apart from his passion for, and commitment to finding integrated solutions to employment law challenges, Ulrich is also the co-designer of leadership development programs such as Leaders @ Work and Leading for Results. He has participated in various sessions on the Harvard Law School Negotiation Programme. Ulrich has co-authored two books on employment law, Dismissal – Principles, Checklists and Forms (2004) and Effective Workplace Solutions: Employment law from a business perspective (2016). He is an accredited commercial and labour mediator. .
Ivan Israelstam, CEO, Labour Law Advice (Author of LABOUR LANDMINES: 99 WAYS TO WIN AT THE CCMA, Published by KR, April 2019)
Ivan is the Chief Executive Officer of Labour Law Management Consulting. He is known as a leading practitioner in labour law and pragmatic labour relations management with many years’ experience in corporate industrial relations management. He writes a weekly labour law column for The Star newspaper’s Workplace, has been a CCMA Commissioner and is the Chairperson of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Labour Affairs Committee. With over 25 years’ experience, he brings competitiveness and unique approach to addressing Labour laws. He also authored “Walking the New Labour Law Tightrope”, “Labour Law for Managers Practical Handbook”, “Making Workplace Forums Work” and “The Gold Future or the Cold Future.” Ivan speaks on television and radio and is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars. In recognition of his contribution in this field Ivan has been featured in “Who’s Who in Southern Africa”. He has an honours degree from The University of the Witwatersrand and an IPM diploma in Personnel Management and in Training.
Dr Angela Du Plessis, Mediator, Labour Relations and Organisational Development Consultant
Angela specialised in Social Work at the Workplace and has had a number of roles over the years, including Company Social Worker, CCMA Commissioner, Organisation Development Consultant and Mediator. She was invited to start the first postgraduate course in Occupational Social Work at Wits and ran an Honours and Masters Programme for 10 years. She consulted widely during this time to the Mining and Financial Services sectors.
Arthur Kamp, Chief Economist, Sanlam Asset Management
Arthur holds a Hons. B Economics Cum Laude from the University of Stellenbosch and an MSc, in Financial Economics from the University of London. He is the Chief Economist at Sanlam Investments (joined 2005), providing economics analysis on the South African and global economy for the Sanlam Investment Group. He has also held the position of External Moderator at the University of Stellenbosch for the Post - graduate Financial Market Analysis Module in the Department of Economics from 2011-2013


Would you like the opportunity to market your company’s products and services to delegates at this conference?

For more information and to book your seat contact Katie van der Schyff on or +27 11 706 6009.


To register for the Two-day Conference Click here.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with the login details.

  Excl. VAT
Industrial Relations Online Conference  | 27 and 28 May 2021
R4 500.00 Excl.VAT

Please note:

  • Payment must be received prior to attendance
SETA grants and accreditation requirements

Many of our delegates enquire about the accreditation of our events. There is a misconception that organisations qualify for SETA grants only for accredited programmes. This is not correct. The payment of SETA grants is regulated by the Government Gazette, no. 9867, Vol. 570, 3 December 2012, no. 35940. These Regulations clearly state that the SETAs “must allocate a mandatory grant to a levy paying employer” that has submitted a WSP and ATR by the regulated date, has provided all the information required in the regulated template, and is up to date with skills levy payments. Furthermore, the template in the Regulations (Section C: Skills Development) allows employers to include ALL planned training in the report; not only accredited programmes.

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Please call a conference customer care consultant on +2711 706 6009 OR email

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Two-day Conference
Day One of Conference
Day Two of Conference
Pre-conference Workshop 1
Pre-conference Workshop 2

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Special discount for registered NPO’s, small businesses (30 or less employees) & full-time lecturers at universities – contact us for more information!


For more information about the conference, please contact Katie van der Schyff on or +27 11 706 6009.


To book your seat contact Magdeline Matlatse  on +2711 706 6009 or
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