Hugo  Pienaar

Hugo Pienaar


Professor Hugo Pienaar is a Director in our Employment practice. He has vast experience in employment law and litigation and dispute resolution matters and represents most of the major corporations in South Africa. Hugo publishes on a regular basis on various employment law topics and has done a number of television and radio interviews.

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Hugo Pienaar acted as a judge in the Labour Court, lectures part time in employment law subject to post-graduates at various tertiary institutions, the Da Vinci Institute, and similarly, for the Law Society of South Africa. He has contributed to textbooks and served on the government task team established to compile labour legislation for the State. Hugo has lead a study group to Malaysia and Australia to research the application of affirmative action.  He has also advised on and helped to develop a labour framework for a major institution in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, Hugo has advised on labour framework for a Japanese based motor manufacturing company and visited the Jakarta, Bangkok and other international plants for such purpose. 


  • Establishing new legal principles in labour law with regard to strikes and enforcing of restraint applications
  • Advising on mergers and acquisitions as well as restructuring of companies
  • Collective bargaining and facilitating negotiations
  • Employment equity, equal pay and discrimination disputes
  • Implementation of affirmative action programmes
  • Facilitating and mediating disputes
  • Handling and interdicting of strikes and strike related actions
  • Labour court, labour appeal court and CCMA appearances
  • Managing retrenchments and redundancies
  • Strategising on all employment related matters

Presentations and Publications

  • Runs training workshops on various topics such as disciplinary enquiries, arbitrations etc
  • A speaker at the Annual Labour Law Conference; the IMPSA Conference; SASLAW; the HR Conference as well as the Law Society
  • Publishes chapters in the SABPP Women's Report for the University of Johannesburg
  • Contributes to articles to the Road Freight Industry Newsletters
  • Contributes to articles in the Without Prejudice Magazine.
  • Regular contributor to Lexis Nexus
  • Chambers Global 2014-2020 ranked Hugo in Band 2 in Employment. 
  • The Legal 500 EMEA series 2014 - 2020 recommended Hugo for employment.
  • He was the exclusive South African winner of the ILO Client Choice Awards 2017 and 2019 in the employment and benefits category.


  • BJuris Cum Laude, LLB, North West University
  • Extraordinary Professor, North West University, Visiting Professor, University of the Free State
  • Admission as an attorney: 1983
  • Enrolled with the Legal Practice Council


  • The South African Society for Labour Law (SASLAW)
  • A member of the Board of the Road Freight Association
COSATU Nationwide Strike
7 October 2020 Employment Law

COSATU Nationwide Strike

Hugo Pienaar, Director in the Employment Law practice joined CNBC Africa to discuss the federation union's strike on 7 October 2020. He unpacks the legislative framework and the impact of the strike.

Management of the Public Sector Wage Bill
25 November 2019 Employment Law

Management of the Public Sector Wage Bill

Employment Director Hugo Pienaar recently joined eNCA to unpack the Finance Minister's mini-budget report and the management of the Public Sector Wage Bill.

Unemployment rate in South Africa
17 May 2019 Employment Law

Unemployment rate in South Africa

It was recently announced that South Africa's unemployment rate has increased to 27.6% in the first quarter of this year. Employment Director Hugo Pienaar joined eNews Channel Africa to discuss this.

Hugo Pienaar discusses the recent NUMSA judgment
28 July 2017 Employment Law

Hugo Pienaar discusses the recent NUMSA judgment

CDH Employment Director Hugo Pienaar appeared on eNCA on 27 July where he discussed the recent NUMSA judgment which could have significant implications for the South African Labour market.

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Structural and systemic unemployment crises
12 August 2019 Employment Law

Structural and systemic unemployment crises

Hugo Pienaar, Director in the Employment practice joined the Classic Business Show on Classic FM. He discusses the structural and systemic unemployment crises with reference to various international models. He also states that a social accord is necessary between government, labour and business.

Employment Equity Legislation
11 August 2016 Employment Law

Employment Equity Legislation

Hugo Pienaar, director in the Employment practice at CDH speaks to Ian Wessels and Igan Klynsmith about the employment equity legislation.

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