Sudáfrica - Labour court victory for SACTWU

The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) won an important Labour Court judgment which strengthens the right to strike. 
In late October 2020, the South African Carpet Manufacturers’ Employers Association (SACMEA) lodged an urgent Labour Court interdict application against a SACTWU-led wage strike in the carpet textile sector. 
Union members in this sector embarked on a national wage strike after wage negotiations failed to yield a settlement. 
The employers claimed that the strike was unprotected (‘illegal’). They alleged that an agreement had already been reached which had settled the 2020 wage dispute. In addition, employers claimed that the certificate of non-resolution, issued by the commissioner handling the conciliation of this wage dispute, had no standing in law. 
The parties engaged in tough negotiations for months. This matter was finalised in December 2020 under the opinion of Labour Court Judge J Gush, who handed down judgment in favour of the trade union. 
He ruled that «...Section 64 of the LRA (Labour Relations Act) provides that a condition precedent to embarking on protected industrial action is the issuing of a certificate that the dispute remains unresolved...». The judgment, in summary, confirms that SACTWU’s carpet sector national wage strike is indeed a protected (“legal”) strike.

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