Article 66/2021

Labour Edge

In the scenario where a union embarks on a strike and thereafter suspends the strike or holds it in abeyance, is an employer obliged to lift its lockout and accept the employees’ tender of service?


  1. For as long as the underlying issue in dispute remains unresolved, the employer is entitled not to accept the employees’ tender of services and lift the lockout.
  2. In Transportation Motor Spares v National Union of Metalworkers of SA and Others (1999) 20 ILJ 690 (LC), at paragraph [18], the labour court said:

‘…the employer is entitled at the stage of the proposed return to work on the part of the strikers to lock them out until the dispute over which they had gone out on strike has been resolved. It is therefore up to the employer to enquire from the strikers when they seek to return to work what the basis is for their return to work and to decide whether he will allow them to resume their duties or not and if he will, then on what terms they will be so allowed.’

What is the viewpoint of the labour appeal court, as expressed in SA Municipal Workers’ Union obo Morwe v Tswaing Local Municipality and Another [2023] 2 BLLR 131 (LAC); (2022) 33 SALLR 60 (LAC)?

An employer set out its employees’ rights in disciplinary hearings in the applicable disciplinary code and incorporated same into their employment contracts.

What are the options available to an employee when an employer allegedly owes such employee monies in terms of a contract of employment?