York warns Numsa strike blocking sawmill group's operations

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  • York Timber Holdings said members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa have been obstructing access to its escarpment operations. 
  • The company said the union issued a strike notice when job grading negotiations were at an advanced stage. 
  • The company said it got an interim Labour Court order declaring the strike unprotected, and it will proceed with disciplinary action against relevant employees.

York Timber Holdings warned its shareholders on Friday that a strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) was affecting the company's escarpment business and obstructing its operations.

The strike began in late April as Numsa and York were negotiating on job grading at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The company said the union issued a strike notice when these negotiations were at an advanced stage.

The company said in a shareholder notice that striking members of the union were flouting picketing rules despite York obtaining an urgent interdict enforcing the picketing rules last week.

"The strike is expected to have a negative impact on the company's operations and production. York's Escarpment operations contributed 51% to York’s total group revenue for the financial year ended 30 June 2021," the shareholder notice said.

The company said its escarpment operations were disrupted by Numsa members inciting acts of intimidation, harassment, and vandalism.

READ | amaBhungane | Numsa at war with itself over investment company

The notice said the intimidation and vandalism prevented the company from accessing its escarpment facilities to continue operations, so York got an interim order from the Labour Court declaring the strike unprotected.

"The company will accordingly proceed with disciplinary action against relevant employees in accordance with the Labour Relations Act," the notice said.

The notice said shareholders would be updated once operations in the escarpment region return. Numsa did not immediately reply to requests for comment from Fin24.

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