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
Where should government invest with small businesses?

Where should government invest with small businesses?

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Allon Raiz, CEO at Raiz Corp on government focus with small businesses.

Waiting for the Ramaphosa rise – where is the stock market growth?

Waiting for the Ramaphosa rise – where is the stock market growth?

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Warren Ingram, Personal Financial Advisor and Executive Director at Galileo Capital.

Pick n Pay's turnover for the year is around R82 billion

Pick n Pay's turnover for the year is around R82 billion

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Richard Brasher CEO at Pick n Pay on its growth.

Nene: SA needs a lot of structural reform to capitalise on global growth

Nene: SA needs a lot of structural reform to capitalise on global growth

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Finance Minister at Treasury Nhlanhla Nene on the IMF and World Bank Group meetings.

5 reasons SA needs foreign investment to radically transform the economy

5 reasons SA needs foreign investment to radically transform the economy

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Dr Adrian Saville, Professor at Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs).

Meet the brave Basani Maluleke, CEO at 'new and improved' African Bank

Meet the brave Basani Maluleke, CEO at 'new and improved' African Bank

Bruce Whitfield interviews Maluleke – the first black woman to lead a South African bank.

Popular articles
Highly-criticised world athletics body's rule could end Caster Semenya's career

Highly-criticised world athletics body's rule could end Caster Semenya's career

She faces ongoing complaints from rivals about having an "unfair advantage" on the track, but how fair is this proposed IAAF rule?

Cape plumber designs device to ensure geyser water doesn't go down the drain

Cape plumber designs device to ensure geyser water doesn't go down the drain

Wattapac is a water-saving bladder and pump designed to help plumbers save as much as 1 000 litres of water a day.

'He raped me every day for a year when I was 8 years old'

'He raped me every day for a year when I was 8 years old'

A woman has penned her triumphant story of survival after being sexually abused by an uncle as a child.

Staff at CPT hospital threaten to resign after Parly visit

Staff at CPT hospital threaten to resign after Parly visit

Khayelitsha Hospital staff claim they were ill-treated in front of patients during a visit by a Parliamentary Select Committee.

This is how much you should be paying your domestic worker

This is how much you should be paying your domestic worker

Stephen Rathai, director of employment standards at the Department of Labour talks on the new national minimum wage.

Madiba’s private secretary Zelda la Grange opens up about money (hers and his)

Madiba’s private secretary Zelda la Grange opens up about money (hers and his)

Bruce Whitfield interviews La Grange about her and Madiba's attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.)

Mugg & Bean agrees to pay medical bill of customer

Mugg & Bean agrees to pay medical bill of customer

Mugg & Bean has agreed to pay for customers medical bills after a month of being in pain and pestering the chain to pay the bill.