The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) welcome the order handed down by Labour Court.
The matter was scheduled and heard on an urgent basis by the Labour Court, in Johannesburg on 14 June 2018, wherein parties ventilated legal arguments over the urgency application as well as Clicks’ non-compliance with the provisions of Section 189A(13) read with Section 189A(17) of the Labour Relations Act, thus resulting in unilateral changes to working conditions of workers who are specialising in positions of Healthcare Assistants in Clicks Stores’ operations across the country. The notices of the company’s intention to restructure were issued directly to workers on 1, 14 and 15 March 2018, despite the existence of the Union and with no regard to the provisions of meaningful consultation as conceived in the spirit and letter of the law as expressed in the LRA 66of 1995, as amended. This was the basis of SACCAWU’s objection as expressed in the correspondence dispatched to the company on 20 March 2018, as the Union viewed the company’s action to be an act of unilateral changes to working conditions of the affected workers, miscarriage of justice and violation of workers’ rights, and as such SACCAWU advised the company to jointly approach the CCMA for facilitation and resolution. The core of SACCAWU’s case was our conviction that Clicks deliberately undermined and bypassed the spirit and intent of the Law regarding joint consensus seeking processes, instead Clicks was preoccupied by the appeal of staff reduction-linked solutions.
As would be expected, in the mind of employer they deemed the application as not urgent, notwithstanding the fact that workers’ conditions of employment were threatened, citing unsubstantiated possible alternative relief. Clicks were even blind to the obvious reality that poorly administered processes of Section 189(3), automatically, results in irreparable harm to the lives and livelihood of workers. These undesirable circumstances are contrary to the current national imperatives which include creation of decent work, as the centrepiece of developmental goals of the country.
While we are delighted and welcome the Order delivered on 19 June 2018, by Judge Mahosi. J, we as SACCAWU, have for some time observed that Clicks, like many other employers’ act of notoriety and unsavoury reputation when it comes to application of Law, has a history and it is about time the South African legal minds prevailed and protected workers and defend the legitimacy of legislation from this kind of brutality and impunity by employers. In summation, the Order directs that:
- The Union is correct that, this matter was of urgent nature.
- That Clicks must comply with fair procedure as contemplated in Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act 66of 1995, as amended.
- Clicks is interdicted and restrained from implementing its new restructuring intentions prior consultation with SACCAWU, and seek to find or reach consensus over the plight of the affected employees.
- Clicks was ordered to pay the applicant’s costs.
This victory over Clicks is a demonstration that SACCAWU members remain in the safe hands in the worker controlled Union.
SACCAWU NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS