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How Pioneer foods won an 'equal pay for work of equal value' court case against their employees

by , 04 July 2016
How Pioneer foods won an 'equal pay for work of equal value' court case against their employeesDear reader,

The EE Act says you're unfairly discriminating if your employees earn different pay, when they do work of equal value.

So some employees took Pioneer Foods (Pty) Ltd to Court, because they weren't getting paid equally, when they were doing the same jobs. The employees claimed this was unfair discrimination under the EE Act (EEA).

But Pioneer Foods was able to prove that the discrimination was actually fair according to regulation 7 of the EEA.

And they won their case against the employees. Read on to find out how you can justify differences in pay like Pioneer Foods.

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For the first time in South Africa: Two new labour law cases on 'equal pay for equal work'
 
The Employment Equity Act (EEA) has a new provision which says you're unfairly discriminating if your employees earn different pay, when they do work of equal value. Unless, the difference meets the requirements in regulation 7 of the EEA.
 
At the Labour Case Law Update Breakfast, find out how Pioneer Foods and Philani Mega Spar  justified differences in their pay policies, so you can win your case.
 
Book your seat now!
 
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Pioneer Foods (Pty) Ltd v Workers Against Regression (WAR) and Others. What were the facts of the case?


In 2013 and 2015, Pioneer Food's long serving employees complained to their majority union FAWU, that new employees were getting paid the same as them.
 
So FAWU entered into a collective agreement with Pioneer Foods that all new employees from outside the company would be paid at a rate of 80% of the current remuneration for two years. This was to show differentiation and appreciation for long serving employees.
 
But some of the new employees weren't happy about only getting 80%. They'd previously been working for Pioneer Foods under the services of a labour broker, before they were made permanent. So they knew the pay rates. They complained to their union WAR. And WAR took Pioneer Foods to Labour Court on their behalf.
 
Read on to find out the courts findings…
 
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Here's one justification Pioneer Foods used to win their case

 
One of the seven arguments Pioneer Foods put forward is they paid different salaries because there were differences in employees' seniority and length of service.

The Court agreed! It said paying newer employees at a lower rate for a two year period isn't unfair discrimination. In fact, it's a fair and rational justification for wage discrimination under The Code of Good Practice on Equal Pay/Remuneration for Work of Equal Value.
 
It was obvious WAR didn't understand what unfair discrimination was when it came to equal pay for work of equal value. So the Court went on to explain all the provisions in the law about this.

Here's how to make sure you can justify differences in pay in your company like Pioneer Foods

 
Attend the Labour Case Law Update Breakfast and get all the details on:

  • All seven legal arguments Pioneer Foods put forward to the Labour Court – pay attention, one of these could save you a costly lawsuit;

  • What the Pioneer Foods' judgement means for you when it comes to long-term or senior employees who earn more than entry level employees;

  • How the Courts interpret the provisions of regulation 7 of the EEA; and

  • Which of your operational requirements can justify the different terms and conditions of employment.

I've invited Lizle Llouw, Labour Law Expert and Editor-in-Chief of the Labour Law Handbook to give you all the details of the Pioneer Foods case. Plus, she'll also discuss five more labour cases that affect your company. Book your seat now for the Labour Case Law Update Breakfast.
 
P.S. These labour cases have seen employers fork out thousands of Rands in lawsuits. And I want to make sure you don't make the same mistake. Attend the Labour Case Law Update Breakfast and safeguard yourself now.



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Comments
2 comments


Ishan 2016-07-25 07:57:40

Hi,

I am currently employes at a company for the past 11 years, i started of as a general worker and worked my way up the ladder, i am qualified as a health and safey officer, and a qualified electrician, in the year 2014, i have been promoted to become a buyer of our company. Our company does full turnkey projects, therefore we have a workshop buyer and a construction buyer and we sit accross each other, our yearly increase is effective from the 01st July, the construction buyer is with the company for +-12 years, he is a retired employee and almost 70 years, my question is, we both do the same thing, well i actually do alot more, meaning he only does telephonic orders not computer literate, and on a weekly basis i will have to load his orders on our accounting system, but our wage is totally different, will the equal pay for equal work be in my favour?

Sethele 2016-07-06 19:51:52

Can you dismiss an intern for transgression without a hearing?

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