Today's Labour News

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ConCourtPretoria News reports that the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) is to cast a fresh eye on the issue of whether it is fair to fire employees working beyond their retirement age.

The Labour Court (LC) and the Labour Appeal Court (LAC) earlier ruled in favour of two employers who at first agreed to allow some workers to work beyond their 60-year retirement age, but within a year or so terminated their contracts. The unions of the fired workers have turned to the ConCourt to have a final say on the matter. However, they have first had to ask the court to grant them leave to appeal the LC and LAC decisions that the dismissals were fair. The first application has been brought by the Motor Industry Staff Association (Misa), on behalf of Willem Landman who worked for Great South Africa Autobody. The second application has been brought by Solidarity against the State Information Technology Agency (Sita). Their members’ employment contracts provided that their retirement ages would be regulated by their pension fund rules. In Landman’s matter, it has been argued that by dismissing him after he was told he could stay on, the company unfairly discriminated against him on the basis of his age. His employer has argued that his dismissal was fair as an employer could retire an employee at any time after the employee reached the agreed retirement age. In the Sita matter, the six axed employees fell under the Alexander Forbes Pension Fund while they were employed. They have said that under the fund’s rules, they could remain employed until they reached 67. Solidarity has argued that Sita unilaterally imposed a retirement date and subsequently terminated their contracts. According to the union, that constituted an automatic and unfair dismissal on the basis of age. Sita, in turn, has argued that the fund’s rules had never been implemented in that there had been no consent from it in respect of any of its employees, including the applicants in the matter.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Zelda Venter at Pretoria News
  • Read too, Employees turn to the Constitutional Court to challenge retirement dismissals, at Cape Argus

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