Management may be aware, from recent media reports, that the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), of which NUMSA is a member, is preparing for a National Day of Action in the form of a general strike on Wednesday, 23rd February 2022 in support of workers’ rights to a living wage.

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.

Consequently, employees participating in any action on 23rd February 2022 (between 06:00 to 18:00) will be protected by the normal rules regarding protected strikes, namely: no work, no pay and no disciplinary action.

The action on the 23rd February seems to be limited to the Western Cape with the rest of the country potentially not being affected.

However, as NUMSA is a national trade union, there may well be stay-away action outside of the Western Cape. Furthermore, with NEDLAC pronouncing that the action is protected, any other trade union or for that matter any other employee may elect to piggyback on the protected action.

Consequently, any employees participating in any action on 23rd February 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 Wednesday, 23 February 2022.
SEIFSA recommends that management adopt the following course of action in dealing with any stay-away from work on the 23rd February:

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 from Wednesday, 23rd February 2022.

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.