Home Press Releases Archived 2015 SACTWU wins pre-cedent setting labour court case against company refusing us recognition
SACTWU wins pre-cedent setting labour court case against company refusing us recognition PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 13:50


The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers Union (SACTWU) is pleased to announce that Judge La Grange of the Port Elizabeth Labour Court has yesterday ruled in our favour, setting aside and replacing a jurisdictional ruling made by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation & Arbitration (CCMA) in an employer’s favour.

The matter concerned a review application brought on behalf of the Union in which we sought to challenge the CCMA’s ruling that the Union was prohibited from obtaining organisational rights at Association for the Physically Disabled (APD - the employer), due to previous arbitration proceedings in which the Union was unsuccessful.  We argued that the arbitrator’s application of the so-called “res judicata” (‘"already decided’) principle was bad in law and unreasonable.

Judge La Grange agreed, finding that applications for recognition are not static and depend on the facts pertaining at the time.  He thus found that the Union could refer the matter to arbitration afresh and would be eligible to obtain organisational rights if it could prove its case at the arbitration.  In our case the Union had properly extended its scope to cover the business of the employer following the unsuccessful first arbitration and this constituted the point of difference.

APD produces various products, including clothing manufacturing. It employs about 80 mainly disabled employees, of which SACTWU represent just over 50%.

The case is important as it sets a new precedent for trade unions as it demonstrates that an unsuccessful attempt to obtain recognition rights is not the end of the road and that a similar application could be brought at a later date when the union has a stronger case.
The next step will be for the CCMA to convene a date for fresh arbitration on the merits of the recognition dispute.  We will request the CCMA to do this as soon as we receive the typed Court order from the Court.

Issued by
Andre Kriel
General Secretary

If further information is required, kindly contact SACTWU’s Eastern Cape Regional Secretary, Mr Jongile Mazweni, on office number 041 487 2832 or cell number  0814222681.