Article 61/2021

Labour Edge

What is the purpose of a lockout?


In Transport and Allied Workers Union of SA v Putco Ltd (2016) 37 ILJ 1091 (CC), at paragraph [32], it was held as follows in this regard:

‘The purpose of a lockout in terms of s213 is to compel employees whose trade union is party to certain negotiations to accede to an employer’s demand. Its object is to end a stalemate reached as a result of an impasse in negotiations between employer and employee in respect of matters of ‘mutual interest’. A resolution of a dispute can be reached only between adversaries. As a matter of logic, then, there must be a dispute between an employer and employees or their trade union before a lockout is instituted. Accordingly, any exclusion of employees from an employer’s workplace that is not preceded by a demand in respect of a disputed matter of mutual interest does not qualify as a lock­out in terms of s213 of the LRA.’

With reference to Mogalakwena Local Municipality v The Provincial Executive Council, Limpopo and Others (2014) JOL 32103, what were the principles recently endorsed by the labour court in Munthali v PRASA (2021) 32 SALLR 22 (LC) when considering whether or not an applicant has established the required urgency when demanding re-employment on an urgent basis?

In the scenario where a senior employee enters into an agreement resolving a grievance of employees, on what basis did the labour appeal court recently hold that such employer is estopped from denying the authority of such senior employee to enter into such agreement?  And, what role does the conduct of the agent play, on the one hand (i.e. the senior employee), and, on the other hand, what role does the conduct of the principal play (i.e. the senior employee’s superior)?

What is the difference between contractual, statutory and collective agreement rights and obligations?