Benefits: Have we found the way out of the labyrinth?
Authors Rochelle le Roux
Affiliations: Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town; Director, Institute of Development and Labour Law
Source: Industrial Law Journal, Volume 36 Issue 2, 2015, p. 888 – 899
Ever since the enactment of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, the meaning of the benefits-related unfair labour practice presented difficulties to both judges and arbitrators. These difficulties were mainly caused by the desire to maintain a firm distinction between rights and interest disputes and, flowing from this, the insistence that benefits and remuneration were two different things. The interpretation of this unfair labour practice was further complicated by a judgment of the Labour Appeal Court in 2000, suggesting that only benefits originating from contract or legislation are subject to the unfair labour practice jurisdiction. The article argues that the recent judgment of the Labour Appeal Court in Apollo Tyres SA (Pty) Ltd v Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration & others\xc2\xa0(2013) 34 ILJ 1120 (LAC), while diluting the importance of the distinction between rights and interest disputes and that between benefits and remuneration, fails explicitly to dispel the relevance of contract in the context of this unfair labour practice. The article further argues that, contrary to earlier wisdom, this unfair labour practice can be used to assert currently enforceable entitlements.