Super Rugby

Retrenched quintet takes Bulls to court

Tim Dlulane (Gallo Images)
Tim Dlulane (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Five former Blue Bulls employees have taken the union to court over what they feel was unfair dismissal.

The Bulls started with a retrenchment process in August last year, citing financial restraints.

Five retrenched employees - Tim Dlulane (team manager), Pine Pienaar (defence coach), Nqubeko Zulu (under-21 team manager), Dewey Swartbooi and Denzil Frans (both coaches of the under-19 team) - have opted to take the matter to court after a Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) hearing failed to reach a favourable outcome.

At the conclusion of the arbitration hearing, the Blue Bulls Company (BBC) presented the five former employees with improved ‘retrenchment settlement’ packages, which they reportedly turned down.

"The issue was unresolved at the hearing and we have the right to go to the labour court. Unfortunately, it (the court proceedings) will obviously take a while," Piet Heymans, CEO of the Sport Employers Unite trade union told rugby specialist website, Rugby365.

"It will be a very interesting case. We are of the opinion that these five employees were targeted and that the selection criteria (for determining who is retrenched) is vague and unreasonable. What we feel very strongly about is the process used by the BBC. They will have to explain themselves in court."

Dlulane last year claimed that the Bulls’ retrenchment process was a smokescreen and not transparent.

He has also questioned the Bulls’ commitment to transformation as four of the five men who lost their jobs are black.

Responding to Dlulane's claims, Bulls CEO Barend van Graan said the BBC fully supported SA Rugby’s strategic transformation plan, saying the union "creates opportunities for talented players, whatever ethnicity or colour".

Van Graan said the retrenchment process was done in accordance with sections 189 and 189A of the Labour Relations Act and managed by an independent lawyer.

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