Digital technology has transcended many of the physical and spatial limitations on the performance of work. ‘Reimagining employment’ has become a buzzword.

At the same time, these developments have also transcended many of the critical institutions of labour law. These, too, must be reimagined and the target is continuously moving as new forms of technology introduce yet more change.

Scholars are rising to the challenge with a growing body of research and publications exploring the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Department of Mercantile and Labour Law (including the Social Law Project) at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, has decided to make this a niche area – that is, to concentrate teaching, research and community outreach on developing an understanding of how labour law should respond to the changes taking place.

One aim is to promote the sharing of knowledge and cooperation – especially in the form of joint research – with colleagues with similar interests in South Africa and internationally. More specifically, we do so from the perspective of a developing country, to contribute to the regeneration of South African labour law in ways that will promote the creation of new work and employment opportunities and the reduction of inequality inherited from a colonial past.