Snail Mail Us

PO Box 1133
South Africa

Visit Us

2 High rd
South Africa

Phone Us

+27 (11) 873 0903
082 012 1934
076 551 7112

Email us


 Company dismisses workers unhappy with union deal


Company dismisses workers unhappy with union deal


Around 200 hundred workers were dismissed in June 2013 after questioning their shop stewards about an agreement entered into by their union without their mandate.


Workers at Chainpack in Germiston summoned their trade union shop stewards to a meeting on 12 June 2013 to explain a deal the union made with the company the day before. The workers had mandated the union, the Chemical, Wood and Allied Workers Union, a breakaway from a Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliate, to negotiate a R25 across-the-board increase for all workers. The lowest paid workers earn R7 an hour, which is much lower than the daily minimum for farm workers.


According to the workers, the union unilaterally settled on a R2.20 per hour increase, with no consultation or further mandating from the workers. When workers expressed their anger, to the stewards and to management, management locked the factory gates and called the police to remove the workers from the premises.


The company then proceeded to dismiss all the workers for going on an unprocedural work stoppage, including the night shift, which wasn’t at work at the time of the alleged work stoppage. The company subsequently selectively rehired workers, mainly the operators, leaving more than 50 workers without jobs.


The workers referred their case of unfair dismissal to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after the union failed to do so. The union attempted to confuse the workers and get them to drop their case by claiming to indeed having referred their case, even citing a hearing date. Upon enquiry at the CCMA, the workers discovered that no case has been opened by the union.


The union had issued workers with their dismissal letters on 18 June, and also arrived at the CCMA on the day of the workers’ case, even though it had not been party to the case and therefore should not have known about the hearing date. The workers suspected it had been invited there by the company. The dismissed workers have all resigned from the union.


Conciliation of the case at the CCMA predictably failed, with the company refusing the workers’ demand of reinstatement. Workers are now referring their case to the labour court.



Click here to register for our FREE Labour Resouces