AMCU To Appeal Irrational Labour Court Judgment’

16 March 2016

The Justice Prinsloo ruling marks a sad day for the labour movement, a regression of the LRA and a violation of our constitutional rights. It is the apex of institutionalized suppression of free will as espoused and envisaged in the Counstitution and confirms our longterm suspicion that the Judiciary is an extension of the toxic relationship between Capital, yellow unions and the State. We will write a formal letter of complaint to the Judge President of the Labour Court on the conduct of this Judge, whose judgement came a day after another application for interdict by Sibanye conveniently issuing the order to make way for hearing this new application.

The Business Day in its myopic reporting fails to understand the basis for a secondary strike. Section (s)66 of the Labour Relations Act makes minimum requirements for notifying the employers in question. In s66 there is no requirement to make a consideration of the ‘economic impact to the country’ to measure reasonableness. This is unprecedented reading of the Act and is against the spirit of drafted text and will form our basis for appeal.

The bias of this Business Day article (which did not give us a right of response) is also noted when reporting about violence. On Wednesday we held a press conference notifying South Africa of evidence of unfathomed relations between Sibanye and the SAPS. We further circulated a video of NUM members armed to teeth preparing to attack our members. Surely the proponents of violence are now known and such can not be used as a basis to rule against our application. A judge is expected to make a ruling on the basis of material facts and not sensational media reports.

It is also preposterous for Judge Prinsloo to consider violence as a factor in making his determination. This view negates other AMCU applications for interdict to the same court, for Sibanye to search hostels in order to make picketing safe. This was opposed by Sibanye since it has been sponsoring strike violence through their ally the NUM.

The Business Day article is an oxymoron considering their complete lack of understanding of the LRA. The reference by Judge Prinsloo to a minority agreement in his judgment is a violation of s23 of the LRA and inconsistent with 2 previous judgments of the same court that upheld that such extensions could not be made. The fact that half of the workers are working means therefore there is no violence ‘at work’ and therefore this (violence) can not be used as a consideration to declare the secondary strike unprotected.

As a union we are opposed to violence at all times in what ever form. The death of 9 people and the burning of 60 houses has not been ascribed to the strike or our members. The presumption that this is perpetuated by AMCU is irresponsible, considering the evidence we have tabled before the Police, DMR and even the President. We have been assured in a meeting with cabinet ministers that urgent action is being taken. We view the Prinsloo judgment as misguided and done in such as way to assist the latest application for interdict by Sibanye.