Cape farmworkers' case dismissed

2014-06-03 13:44

Cape Town - Eleven Western Cape farmworkers failed on Tuesday in a bid to fight their dismissal in the Labour Court in Cape Town.

Labour Court judge Anton Steenkamp said their dismissal from a Robertson farm on 21 January last year had not been referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Thus, the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The workers and their union, the Commercial Stevedoring Agricultural and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU), were ordered to pay the costs of the respondent, Steytler Boerdery.

The applicants are Daniel Sambo, Jacques Jaftha, Andries Ambrose, Dawid Jooste, Salmon Swarts, Daniel Jonas, Linda Afrika, Adean Bruntjies, Christian Paulsen, and Esmeralda and Donovan Grootboom.

They had referred a dispute to the CCMA on 8 January last year after their employer had locked them out. Conciliation of that dispute failed and was referred to the court.

However, the workers never referred a dispute over their actual dismissal on 21 January to the CCMA.

Farmworker protests

Farming towns across the province came to a standstill during a workers' protest against poor wages and harsh living conditions towards the end of 2012 and the start of 2013.

According to employer David Steytler, the 11 workers took part in six unprotected strikes in two months within that period.

When they went on an unprotected strike for the seventh time, he locked them out until they agreed to give a written undertaking to stop striking. When they refused, he lifted the lock-out and asked them to return to work.

They stayed away and he issued two ultimatums. The workers continued to strike and he notified them of a disciplinary hearing on 17 January.

Neither the workers nor their trade union representative attended the hearing, chaired by a human resources practitioner. They were dismissed a few days later.

  • George Slade - 2014-06-03 13:56

    Good --an entirely sensible & Correct decision.

      Mliks Mchunu - 2014-06-03 14:39

      The magistrate said that, have you heard anything that is not white winning a case here in western Cape? Go and work.

      Rocky Bell - 2014-06-03 16:05

      Bembus. a thread?? d@@s!!

      Anne-Marie Matthee - 2014-06-04 00:08

      mliks, first you say ''i heard'' and now you're stating it like its a you have proof, or are you just trying to play the boring old race card and instigating racial hate like framsman and ehrenreich does? If you are. Then you are one of the many people who doesnt want this country to succeed...shame on you

  • Colin Craig Broadfoot - 2014-06-03 13:58

    Don't protest, get another job.

      Genet Joobs - 2014-06-03 14:39

      Yes, if they can. Who would want to take troublemakers on.

  • Kobus Laubscher - 2014-06-03 14:07

    F%%%%% mooi

      Rocky Bell - 2014-06-03 16:09

      Wait for the headline: more strikers fired. Farmers: mechanise - get rid of these people who don't want to work.

  • Sarah Stanton - 2014-06-03 14:11

    Forgone conclusion. Their case had no merit whatsoever.

  • GrantE - 2014-06-03 14:12

    well done labour court, let these people learn the hard way, now you have no job and no money at all.

  • lood.klerk - 2014-06-03 14:13

    No work no pay no house no food- ANC honeymoon in SA are over! Get your voters to understand democracy, communism , socialism - at the end somebody must still do some proper hard and productive Work - get use to it!!

  • Mliks Mchunu - 2014-06-03 14:35

    I heard that, the magistrate said 'have you ever heard anyone who is not white winning a case? Go and work.

      Chris May - 2014-06-03 15:41

      If that were true, he/she needs a fat smack. These guys lost on procedure (they didn't follow it despite being prompted) and substance (there wasn't any). The CCMA is still very valid for anyone of any colour with a just complaint, logged in time and handled correctly.

      John Greystoke - 2014-06-03 16:40

      It indicates that the union is incompetent for losing a case on procedure!

  • Cina - 2014-06-03 14:40

    Good it is about time that strikers get fired. I just hope other strikers take note of this. They are not that indispensable as what they think they are.

  • Mike 881 - 2014-06-03 14:47

    The farm workers protest (at the instigation of anc) against low pay, yet anc minister senzeni zokwana pays his farm worker R26 per day???

  • Pat Aldrich - 2014-06-03 14:48

    Now as fransman or who ever told you to strike to give you a new job. Anc always first to complain and last to take responsibility

  • Fay Cooney - 2014-06-03 14:50

    If you strike and destroy peoples property you don't deserve to find work.

  • PointBlank - 2014-06-03 15:01

    Sounds about right. Sense of entitlement and false promises by union bosses resulted in these 11 losing their jobs.

      Toby Clive Goss - 2014-06-03 15:48

      They should go sort the "union bosses"

  • Chantal Masson - 2014-06-03 17:10

    Well done !!! Its time they see you can't strike for just any and all reasons .

  • Andre Jansen Van Vuuren - 2014-06-03 20:32


  • Busisiwe Mavuso Grace - 2014-06-04 12:03

    Mliks, may be you are one of those uneducated people who doesn't want to follow rules and regulations and have absolutely no clue whatsoever how the LRA and CCMA works! And please stop instigating hate between employers and employees and white and other races, rather try and build our beautiful country and economy!

  • John Smith078 - 2015-05-23 04:20

    OMG just look at that long, tedious and ridiculous process the farmer had to go through - and still the workers go to court. They have no hope in hell. Seven unprotected strikes, offers, warnings and ultimatums. Unbelievable how much one must do before you can fire people who use strikes as blackmail.

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