Legal Aid SA employees to go on strike

Court in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
Court in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Legal Aid South Africa employees are expected to strike from Monday over a variety of employment grievances, including benefits and budget cuts, the state entity said in a statement on Monday.

"The primary issues of dispute revolve around the reduction of a limited number of employee benefits as a result of the severe budget shortfalls that Legal Aid SA has experienced over the last few years.

"The reduction in these benefits, such as the rightsizing of our Group Life Scheme, was done as a last resort in order to avoid retrenchment of staff," national spokesperson Mfanafuthi Shabangu said.

READ | Ronald Lamola: Some of SA's best legal minds passed through the gates of Legal Aid

This follows a demonstration that took place at its national office in May, where a memorandum was handed over. A certificate of non-resolution was issued on December 6, 2018 by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration - the basis on which employees now intend to strike.  

Courts will be affected by the strike.

"The disruption of many court matters will be an inevitable consequence of this strike action. Our local management teams will liaise with relevant officials at each court to determine how best we can continue to provide services to priority matters," Shabangu added.

ALSO READ | 750 000+ helped by Legal Aid SA

"Walk-in clients are still welcome at Legal Aid SA offices, and will be able to access legal advice.

"Legal Aid SA is committed to engaging with its employees in forging a way forward, whilst minimising service disruption to our clients," Shabangu said.

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