As Management may be aware from recent media reports, 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 25 April 2018 in protest against the introduction of the labour law amendments and the national minimum wage.

This Management Brief provides some basic background to the issue and guidance to Management in dealing with the planned protest action.

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 of the LRA.

It is important to note that whilst SAFTU’s application to the Section 77 Sub-Committee of NEDLAC was unsuccessful, three trade unions affiliated to SAFTU (i.e. NUPSAW, ICTU and Salipswu) made a similar Section 77 application to NEDLAC some time ago for strike action on 12 and 25 April 2018.

This application was duly considered by NEDLAC and the NEDLAC Section 77 Standing Committee determined the notice to be compliant with the administrative requirements of the LRA. Consequently, employees participating in any action on 12 and 25 April 2018 will be protected by the normal rules regarding protected strikes, namely: no work, no pay and no disciplinary action.

The action on 12 April seems to be limited to the Western Cape, with the rest of the country potentially likely to be affected on 25 April 2018.

Since the three trade unions referred to above are affiliated to SAFTU, this opens the way for other SAFTU-affiliated trade unions –  such as NUMSA –  to piggyback on the protected action.

Consequently, employees participating in any action on the 12th and the 25th of April 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 Thursday, 12 and Wednesday, 25 April 2018

SEIFSA recommends that Management adopts the following course of action in dealing with any stay-away from work on the 12th and the 25th of April:

  • Inform all workers that any absences related to the protest action will be treated on the following basis:
  • no work, no pay and 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 Thursday, the 12th and Wednesday, the 25th of April 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.

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