Members will be aware that NUMSA has commenced with nationwide demonstrations across the industry.
SEIFSA has formally and in writing advised NUMSA that we view this action as amounting to peaceful demonstrations and not pickets or picketing.
In terms of the Labour Relations Act picketing may only be embarked in support of a protected strike or in opposition to a lock-out. To date neither party or parties have served strike and/ or lock out notice on the other and negotiations aimed at breaking the deadlock are ongoing with the next round of negotiations aimed at breaking the deadlock scheduled on Tuesday, 24 August 2021.
Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Protest
Section 17 of the Constitution recognizes the right to assemble and demonstrate.
Importantly, this constitutional right can only be exercised peacefully and unarmed.
Should members receive a request from their local trade union official, shop steward/s and/or union members to conduct, participate-in and/or arrange a peaceful demonstration, in workers own time and on company premises, this may only be done with the explicit permission of management.
In the event that such permission is granted, the demonstration must take place at a designated area and in full compliance with all COVOD-19 lock-down restrictions and regulations and importantly all health and safety protocols i.e. masking, social distancing, group size etc.
Employees participating in a peaceful demonstration off company premises and who are seen not complying with all COVID-19 protocols run the risk of not been allowed back on company premises until they have self-quarantined in-line with government directives aimed to managing and limiting the spread of the pandemic.
Should any demonstration, either on or off company premises, spill over into normal working time, management reserves the right:
- to immediately implement the rule of no-work; no-pay;
- any action spilling over into normal production time where no prior management approval has been granted will result in management reserving its right to implement appropriate disciplinary action;
- any action resulting in any disruption to work and/ or infringing on the rights of other employees who have no interest in the action will also result in disciplinary action; 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 as a result of the unauthorized action.
SEIFSA remains fully and completely committed to continuing negotiations with a view to securing an agreement within its mandate.
We will also immediately advise the membership the moment we anticipate that industrial action is imminent.
We will continue to keep all members fully informed as developments unfold.
SEIFSA’s Industrial Relations and Legal Services Division on (011) 298-9400 are available to provide further advice or assistance to management in this regard.
L Trentini, CEO SEIFSA