BACKGROUND TO THE COSATU STAY-AWAY
The Labour Relations Act (LRA) permits registered trade unions or federations of trade unions, such as Cosatu, 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 LRA.
On 17 August 2015, Cosatu submitted a Section 77 notice on the State of Public Transport in South Africa to Nedlac. The Nedlac Section 77 Standing Committee met on 14 September 2015 and determined the notice to be compliant with the administrative requirements of the LRA.
The forms of protest action and action in contemplation of and furtherance of the protest action will involve:
- Rallies, marches, demonstrations at or near the offices of SANRAL and the Department of Transport on 7 October 2015; and
- A national stay-away or socio-economic strike action on 7 October 2015.
MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES ON THE COSATU ACTION
SEIFSA recommends that management adopt the following course of action in dealing with any stay-away on 7 October 2015:
- Inform all workers that any absences related to the protest action will be treated on the following basis:
- No work, no pay, no disciplinary action;
- 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 on 7 October 2015.
- If you do have a Cosatu-affiliated trade union on your shop floor, it is recommended that you consider the possibility of agreeing to an alternative working time arrangement to a worker stay-away by, for example, reaching agreement with employees that only the shop stewards participate in the stay-away on the basis that they will not forfeit pay, on condition that all members present themselves for work on 7 October 2015. Alternatively, that lunchtime demonstrations replace the stay-away action.
The staff of the SEIFSA Industrial Relations and Legal Services Division are available to provide further advice or assistance to management in this regard.