As you may be aware from recent media reports, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is preparing for a protest action in the form of a one-day national strike on Tuesday, 20 March 2018.

This Management Brief provides some basic background to the issue and guidance on dealing with the intended protest action

Background to the AMCU Stay-Away

On 29 August 2017 AMCU submitted a Section 77 (1)(b) notice confirming its intention to proceed with a socio-economic protest strike action “due to the failure of the Department of Mineral Resources to ensure the socio-economic welfare of workers through proper regulation and enforcement.”

AMCU has subsequently given notice to NEDLAC in terms of Section 77 (1)(d) of the Labour Relations Act, that they will embark on a nationwide protest action on 20 March 2018.

Protest Action and the Labour Relations Act

The Labour Relations Act (LRA) permits trade unions such as AMCU to undertake protected protest action to promote the social and economic interests of workers, provided that they observe the procedural requirements contained in Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995.

It is important to note that protest action in terms of Section 77 of the LRA is only legal or protected if the issue in dispute has been considered or finalised by NEDLAC and the union or federation (in this case AMCU) has given 14 days’ notice to NEDLAC of its intention to proceed with such protest action. In the absence of these conditions, any protest action would not be protected.

The NEDLAC Section 77 Standing Committee has determined the notice to be compliant with the administrative requirements of the LRA.

Consequently, AMCU members participating in any action on 20 March 2018 will be protected by the normal rules regarding protected strikes, namely: no work, no pay and no disciplinary action.

Management Guidelines on Possible Absenteeism on Tuesday, 20 March 2018

SEIFSA recommends that management adopt the following course of action in dealing with any stay-away from work on 20 March 2018:

  • Inform workers (i.e. members of AMCU) that any absences related to the protest action will be treated on the following basis:
  • no work, no pay;
  • a shift for leave pay and leave enhancement pay qualification purposes will be lost in respect of the day’s absence; and
  • any overtime worked during the course of the week will be paid at ordinary rates to make up for the lost ordinary working hours from Tuesday, 20 March 2018.

The Staff of the SEIFSA Industrial Relations and Legal Services Division are available on (011) 298-9400 to provide any further advice and/ or assistance to management on the contents of this management brief.