10111 strike: Court dismisses urgent interdict application

2017-10-19 21:24
Protesting 10111 call centre workers. (File: Jaco Marais, Gallo Images, Die Burger)

Protesting 10111 call centre workers. (File: Jaco Marais, Gallo Images, Die Burger)

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Johannesburg – The Labour Court in Johannesburg has dismissed an urgent application by the South African Policing Union (SAPU) to interdict the SAPS from taking disciplinary action against their members working at the 10111 call centres who have embarked on an unprotected strike.  

The application was dismissed with costs, spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the SAPS welcomed the court's decision. 

She said the court stated that it could not be approached as a point of first instance following the signing of a collective agreement in the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) by the SAPS and the majority union, Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), on September 13 and the subsequent referral of a dispute by SAPU to the bargaining council.

Mathe said the court had highlighted that the union should have approached it as a last resort after exhausting the SSSBC process.

She said the court also confirmed that the SAPS was within its rights following the signing of the agreement and "subsequent ultimatum given to employees to return to work by no later than September 29 or face disciplinary action".

Employees urged to return to work

Mathe said the SAPS would proceed with internal disciplinary procedures in accordance with its disciplinary regulations and that commanders of all 10111 call centres would be instructed as such.

"As a way of ensuring that we continue to ensure that the people of South Africa are and feel safe, the SAPS has, since the commencement of the strike, set contingency plans in place to avoid the disruption of services at all its 10111 call centres nationwide."

The SAPS called on 10111 call centre employees to report for duty.

READ: Our families are suffering - striking 10111 workers

However, SAPU president Mpho Kwinika told News24 that the union was not disappointed that its urgent application was dismissed.

"We are very happy, we are ecstatic... when we approached the court, we did not approach them on the basis that they will be able to grant what they call a 'declarator' on whether the strike is protected and legal. We knew that the Labour Court does not have jurisdiction over that matter."

He said the judge could not rule whether the strike was legal or not pending the dispute that was lodged by SAPU against the agreement signed by SAPS and Popcru. 

"I am happy that now the public will know the truth that the strike is legal and protected pending the resolving of the dispute by SSSBC."

Kwinika added that the union was also happy with the fact that the court's doors were open to it should the dispute not be resolved by the SSSBC.

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Read more on:    saps  |  johannesburg  |  labour disputes

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