In the recent case of Apollo Tyres SA (Pty) Ltd v NUMSA &
Others (2012) ZALCCT 6 LC, it was confirmed that employers may
unilaterally change the shift patterns of those employees who were
not party to a collective agreement, but not of those who were.
The facts of the case were briefly that around 2004, the
employer entered into a collective agreement with some of its
employees, one of the terms being a 12 hour, 3 shift system.
In 2011 the employer embarked on a consultation process with the
employees to table a proposed amendment to the shift patterns. The
parties were unable to reach agreement and the employer
unilaterally implemented the changes across the board on 1 February
The employees viewed the amendments as a change to their terms
and conditions of employment.
The court had to determine whether the change to the shift
patterns constituted a change to the terms and conditions of
employment or a change to a work practice.
The relevance of this distinction is that an employer cannot
unilaterally change the terms and conditions of employment, but can
change a work practice unilaterally as this falls within the
The court found, in respect of those employees who were not
party to the collective agreement, that in the absence of a
contractual agreement to work specific shifts, the regulation of
shift patterns is a work practice which falls within
management's prerogative to change unilaterally.
The court found, in respect of those employees who were party to
the collective agreement, that the change in shift patterns equates
to a change to the terms and conditions of employment. However, the
agreement contained a clause stating that the employer could
discontinue or modify the shift system to achieve its operational
requirements, after consultation with the employees. The employer
accordingly acted within the ambit of the collective agreement by
changing the shift system. In the absence of this clause, the
change would have constituted a unilateral change to the terms and
conditions of employment.
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Employees must understand the notice periods stipulated by law. When an employee gives notice of their resignation to an employer, they is advising the employer that they will cease to work for the employer from a certain date.
Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic located on the west coast of Africa. Modern Nigeria has its origins as a British colony through the 19th and 20th century until it achieved independence in 1960.
The jurisprudential basis is pithily expressed as staying in sync with the global position on employment relationship, easily summed up as "International Labour Standard" and "International Best Practice".
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