Are you considering changing the terms and conditions of employment for your Employees? Here is when and how you can.

  1. The principle is that terms and conditions of employment may not be changed unilaterally by the employer and that the consent of the employee is required. This implies a negotiated process with the affected employees in order to secure such consent.
  • Only where the nature of the job is drastically changed can it be said that there has been a unilateral change to the contract of employment.
  • If the employer unilaterally changes the employee’s terms and conditions of employment, the employee has the right to declare a labour dispute at the CCMA, to restore the status quo.
  1. Sometimes changes in terms and conditions are however necessary to ensure the survival of the organization or simply to become more competitive or efficient.
  2. There are true, within our existing labour dispensation, mechanisms to effect such material changes lawfully and fairly.
  3. There has to be a justifiable operational/business rationale for making those changes.
  4. Employees who remain intransigent in the face of compelling reasons for change might find themselves at risk of being retrenched after a proper consultation process between the parties has taken place. It should be noted that there are procedures that have to be implemented by the employer, to effect a fair and lawful retrenchment.
  5. I reiterate that changes to terms and conditions of employment cannot be made without prior consultation with the employee on the proposed changes. The consultation should be utilized, by both parties, as a tool toward progress and efficiency.
  6. Once the employer obtains the consent of the employee, the terms and conditions of employment that are to be amended, are to be reduced in writing, in terms of an addendum to the contract of employment.


For more information on labour law advice or services. Please feel free to contact us at Cape Labour Consultants and we will gladly assist you. Cape Labour & Industrial Consultants is a Cape Town-based providing Labour Law (Industrial Relations) and advice to employers and employees across all market segments and industries since 1987.

For more information or to Contact Cape Labour. You can find all of our relevant details here.

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082 433 8714
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