How employees and employers should tackle disputes about allowances

Last week SAA cabin crew downed tools, demanding, among other things, an increase in the daily meal allowance from $131 a day to $170.

With this as background; what should employees and employers know about allowances, and disputes surrounding them?

Ray White (in for Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show) interviewed Hogan Lovells Partner in Employment Law Osborne Molatudi.

Molatudi discussed the following five points:

  • Allowances (i.e. extra payments, either cash or in kind) can be a discretionary (e.g. an incentive bonus, or what is commonly referred to as a 13th cheque) or a contractual entitlement (e.g. a car or transport allowance). To have a claim; allowances must be provided for in a contract, otherwise they will then form part of collective bargaining in the form of demands.

  • Other examples of allowances are discretionary payments (e.g. a tool allowance; a relocation allowance; a meal allowance; a share incentive or discretionary profit-sharing scheme; an entertainment allowance; an education or schooling allowance).

  • In the event of a dispute regarding allowances; employees have a choice to refer an unfair labour practice dispute to the CCMA for arbitration; or opt to go on a protected strike – and this will depend on how they describe the nature of the dispute.

  • The challenging part (in the context of the current SAA strike) is how the dispute is described. Our courts have held that disputes over provision of benefits (comprising allowances) fall into two categories: 1) Where the dispute is not based on an allegation that the granting or removal of that benefit is unfair, strike action is the remedy. 2) Where the dispute concerns the fairness or otherwise of the employer’s conduct, such dispute may be refereed to arbitration.

  • The distinguishing factor is the employer's conduct versus the nature of the employees' demand(s). In the SAA case, the employees are not complaining about the provision of the meal allowance, but they are deadlocked with SAA for refusing to increase it to a particular amount (their demand). In respect of the former – ordinarily, employees would complain that the employer's exercise of discretion in providing the benefit is unfair, whereas in respect of the latter – the complaint is that the employer is refusing to increase it thus making it a dispute of mutual interest and consequently one over which the employees may strike. It should be noted that an employee may not strike alone over a claim for an increase of a particular allowance – it has to be a group of employees acting in concert.

For more detail; listen to the interview in the audio below.

Click here (then“like” the page) to follow Bruce on Facebook.

Enter your email address in the form below to receive a newsletter containing the most-read articles of the week from Bruce Whitfield’s The Money Show every Friday morning in your inbox.

Subscribe to our Business Wrap Newsletter

Article brought to us by Old Mutual.


This article first appeared on 702 : How employees and employers should tackle disputes about allowances


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Working abroad? New rules are coming! You're probably breaking the existing ones

Working abroad? New rules are coming! You're probably breaking the existing ones

Bruce Whitfield interviews Warren Ingram, a Personal Financial Advisor and Executive Director at Galileo Capital.

Dr Adriana Marais was on her way to the Red Planet. Then Mars One collapsed

Dr Adriana Marais was on her way to the Red Planet. Then Mars One collapsed

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Marais, a quantum biology researcher with dreams to live on Mars.

'Get ready for tax levy to save Eskom, because the money is simply not there'

'Get ready for tax levy to save Eskom, because the money is simply not there'

Eskom has so much debt it threatens to break South Africa. Bruce Whitfield interviews Dr Adrian Saville of Cannon Asset Managers.

Meet Abel Sithole, the man in charge of R1.6 trillion in Government pensions

Meet Abel Sithole, the man in charge of R1.6 trillion in Government pensions

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Abel Sithole, Principal Executive Officer at the GEPF, Africa’s largest pension fund.

5 strategies for keeping calm when Eskom sheds a load (by Prof Renata Schoeman)

5 strategies for keeping calm when Eskom sheds a load (by Prof Renata Schoeman)

Psychiatrist Renata Schoeman has tips and tricks to help you cope without blowing a fuse.

Cheekily named load shedding app EskomSePush goes from 2500 to 400 000 users

Cheekily named load shedding app EskomSePush goes from 2500 to 400 000 users

It’s now the most downloaded IOS app and 2nd most downloaded Android app in SA. Bruce Whitfield interviews co-founder Dan Wells.

Popular articles
Wife killer Jason Rohde described as 'upstanding man' at sentencing proceedings

Wife killer Jason Rohde described as 'upstanding man' at sentencing proceedings

Last November, Rohde was found guilty of killing his spouse Susan Rohde at the Spier Wine Estate in July 2016.

Traffic congestion: Capetonians spending 75% more time in vehicles

Traffic congestion: Capetonians spending 75% more time in vehicles

Cape Town has the worst congestion levels in the whole of South Africa.

DStv subscription price hikes for 2019

DStv subscription price hikes for 2019

MultiChoice will increase the prices of certain DStv packages from 1 April.

'Bring back skilled engineers to Eskom' - Solidarity

'Bring back skilled engineers to Eskom' - Solidarity

Trade Union Solidarity says it supports Pravin Gordhan's idea that technicians who used to work for Eskom should be brought back.

We don't disguise or hide speed cameras - CoCT

We don't disguise or hide speed cameras - CoCT

The City of CT's JP Smith explains that traffic officers are prohibited from using concealed netting and other deceptive tactics.

Criminals targeting homes with aluminium windows, warns neighborhood watch

Criminals targeting homes with aluminium windows, warns neighborhood watch

The Panorama, Welgelegen and Plattekloof Neighbourhood Watch has identified a new house break-in trend.