Golden Arrow gets interdict to prevent NUMSA strike

According to the NUMSA statement, Golden Arrow had agreed to withdraw its plans to change the conditions of employment. Pic: Peter Abrahams, Son
According to the NUMSA statement, Golden Arrow had agreed to withdraw its plans to change the conditions of employment. Pic: Peter Abrahams, Son
Foto: Peter Abrahams, Son
  • Golden Arrow says it has not withdrawn any of the changes to its remuneration policy for employees.
  • It obtained an interim interdict to stop NUMSA and the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union from striking because of the proposed changes.
  • According to NUMSA, all Golden Arrow employees continue to enjoy their actual rates of pay as it was before the 1 August 2020.

Bus company Golden Arrow has not withdrawn any of the changes to its remuneration policy for employees in their current positions, the company told Fin24 on Tuesday.

It had actually obtained an interim interdict to stop members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union (TOWU) from embarking on a strike on Monday regarding the proposed changes.

According to Golden Arrow, none of the changes described in a NUMSA press release issued on Monday were ever proposed or implemented in the first place. The NUMSA press statement also did not mention the interdict obtained by Golden Arrow.

"It is completely unethical to continue to mislead the media, Golden Arrow employees and members of the public in this way and we must now urge the media to carefully fact check every press statement about Golden Arrow that they receive from NUMSA so as not to reproduce fake news," the company responded.

According to the NUMSA statement, Golden Arrow had agreed to withdraw its plans to change the conditions of employment and that was why the union decided not to embark on the strike action as was intended. The union did make it clear that it does not mean that "the battle" with Golden Arrows is over.

The union said about 98% of its members voted for a strike through balloting last week, and it intended to embark on strike action this week.

According to NUMSA, all Golden Arrow employees continue to enjoy their actual rates of pay as it was before 1 August 2020. They will also enjoy future increases and contributions towards their pension or provident funds based on their actual rates of pay.

Furthermore, according to NUMSA, workers will continue to earn their overtime at their actual rate of pay as it was and not "as communicated by management".

"Golden Arrow has completely changed its tune when our lawyers pushed them to be clear and workers were ready for a strike. It is not the interdict that stopped workers, it is because Golden Arrow is no longer implementing what they were intending to do, except for promotion and acting positions," Vuyo Lufele, NUMSA regional secretary in the Western Cape, told Fin24 on Tuesday afternoon.

He says Golden Arrow initially imposed certain bullet points to the workers in a letter dated 3 August this year. He says these points included that all employees will be paid on new rates (industry minimum rates); that in each job category, where the company is paying employees more than South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) minimums, the wage will consist of SARPBAC minimum plus a guaranteed allowance plus an attendance incentive bonus of R250 per week; and for employees who earn more than SARPBAC minimums, future salary increases will only be given on the minimum rate.

For these employees, both employee and company's pension contributions and overtime will be calculated on SARPBAC minimums only and, in addition, all acting and upgrade payments will be calculated on these rates effective 1 August 2020.

* This article was updated with the latest comment from Lufele.

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