Labour Appeal Court makes landmark ruling regarding the issue of prescription

The background is this: A company had dismissed its striking (protesting) workers following an unprotected strike in 2003. After a long drawn out battle of referrals from one court to the next between 2007 and 2009, a ruling was confirmed that the dismissed employees were to be reinstated with full back pay. The employees were reinstated in September 2009 but not given back pay. After a process to recover this payment, fraught with technicalities,the employees approached the Labour Court on 19 September 2012 for an order to place a value on the arrear wages. The employer raised a defence of prescription to this claim, i.e. that the claim was older than 3 years and could not be pursued.

The Court agreed that the contractual amounts claimed for arrear wages between 2007 and 2009 had indeed prescribed and could not be claimed.

Read the judgment here: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZALAC/2015/49.html

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