On the shopfloor: Labour consultant put in his place

Labour consultant and former Saawu trade unionist, Simon Tshidi, will think twice about challenging an arbitration award in the future.

This was after he, and the company he was representing, Hammerle Products CC, were ordered to pay the costs of bringing the challenge to the Labour Court .

The saga began when worker, Goodboy Luvumo, was dismissed without a disciplinary hearing in 2002.

Numsa referred Luvumo’s dismissal to the metal industries bargaining council for both conciliation and arbitration.

But Tshidi and his client failed to attend both hearings.

The union was then granted a default award which ordered the company to pay Luvumo R8443,50 within 21 days of the date of the award.

When Luvumo had still received nothing after six weeks, Numsa applied and was granted a writ of execution from the Labour Court with 15,5% interest raising Luvumo’s payout to R9600.

Numsa requested the Sheriff of the Court to enforce the Labour Court order against the company. The Sheriff attached a car worth R20 000 for auctioning.

Tshidi, claiming to be the Human Resources Director of Hammerle Products CC, then asked the Labour Court to interdict Numsa and the Sheriff of the court from enforcing the award.

At the Labour Court , the judge declared that Tshidi was one of the labour consultants that only seek to frustrate and dismiss employees unlawfully and further delay their cases either at the bargaining councils or the CCMA.

Dismissing the application, he ordered Tshidi and his client to pay the costs of bringing the matter to the Labour Court , as well as Numsa’s and Luvumo’s legal costs.

This has sent a loud and clear message to the company and its representative that nobody is above the law. As union officials we should ensure that employers comply with the provisions of the LRA by obeying awards and that we deal with labour consultants accordingly, whenever we come across them.