Union to take discrimination fight to UN

2016-07-15 17:08
The Constitutional Court. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24

The Constitutional Court. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24

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Johannesburg – Solidarity intends taking the fight of three correctional services employees against unfair discrimination to the United Nations, the trade union said outside the Constitutional Court on Friday.

“We are going to the United Nations in August this year, and we will argue on their behalf that they still sit with the problem that needs to be solved," head of fair labour practice at Solidarity, Anton van der Bijl, said.

He said the three had no further legal recourse in South Africa.

Reading the court's majority judgment, Deputy Chief Justice Bess Nkabinde said PJ Davids’s appeal failed because he was white. The department had demonstrated that whites were over-represented at the level to which he had sought to be appointed.

AJ Jonkers's application failed because he had not been recommended for the post. LJ Fortuin's application failed because while she was initially denied appointment, she got the post she had applied for.

The Constitutional Court however found that the department’s decision not to promote seven coloured Western Cape employees was unfair discrimination. It ordered them to be appointed to the positions they were eligible for, and receive back pay.

The matter began when 10 of the department’s employees, one white and nine coloured, contested a decision not to promote them, based on its employment equity plan.

The Labour Court previously ruled that the department had to ensure both national and regional demographics were taken into account when setting equity targets. The court did not however set aside the department's equity plan and provided no relief for the 10 employees.

Solidarity then took the matter to the Constitutional Court.

In November last year, the union told the court that the department’s equity plan did not comply with the Employment Equity Act. A key reason was that the plan did not consider regional demographics when promoting employees. Instead it stuck rigidly to national demographics.

National demographics ignored the fact that higher numbers of people of certain race groups were found in some regions, like coloureds in the Western Cape or Indians in Durban. This meant those groups would be unfairly discriminated against.


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