Management may be aware, from recent media reports, that the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), of which NUMSA is a member, intends joining the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) call for a national shutdown on 20 March 2023.

 Protest Action and the Labour Relations Act

The Labour Relations Act (LRA) permits registered trade unions or federations such as SAFTU, 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 (1) (b) of the LRA 66 of 1995, as amended.

This application was duly considered by NEDLAC and the NEDLAC Section 77 Standing Committee has determined the notice to be compliant with the administrative requirements of the LRA. SAFTU can therefore go on protest action based on their 1(b)-notice submitted in 2020, and their latest 1(d) notice. Procedurally, they have met the requirements.

Consequently, any employees participating in any action on 20th March will be protected by the normal rules regarding protected strike-action, namely: no-work-no-pay and no disciplinary action.

Management Guidelines on Possible Absenteeism on Monday, 20 March 2023

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

  • 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;
  • 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 Monday, 20th March February 2023; and
  • Management is at liberty to explore the possibility of arranging mutually acceptable alternative work-in-time arrangements in view of the Monday being sandwiched between a week-end and a public holiday on the 21 March 2023.

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