LEGAL CASES: Legal wrangles score almost R6 million

Numsa member awarded R500 000 after 6 years

When Keddie Makhubalo reported for work at Goodyear in Uitenhage, even though he was off-duty, he learnt to distrust his white bosses for life.

“I never expected that the same boss I offered to help when my colleague was absent from work, would push for my dismissal case to be reviewed in the Supreme Court of Appeal”, he said.

Makhubalo, 53, was fired in December 1999 for allegedly reporting on duty drunk. He had been summoned to work a morning shift instead of his normal night shift.

Numsa referred the dismissal to the CCMA protesting that he was not treated fairly. Makhubalo had 25 years service and a clean disciplinary record.

Makhubalo obtained a reinstatement order, but the company took the CCMA ruling on review and later on appeal, after the Labour Court had refused to interfere with the CCMA order.

The company then lost again at the Labour Appeal Court . There three judges accepted Numsa’s plea that Makhubalo’s dismissal was indeed unfair . But determined not to give up, the company appealed again, this time to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Now the Supreme Court of Appeal has ordered Goodyear to pay more than R500 000 in compensation to Makhubalo as well as his legal costs and has refused to consider an appeal. It said that five judges had earlier felt that there were no special circumstances to allow the company to take the case further to the Court of Appeals.

Makhubalo’s joy is balanced by his concern that he must still find another job to support and educate his three children. “The compensation is like a drop in the ocean,” he said.

Numsa has launched “Operation Mababuyiselwe” (reinstatement) to try and win reinstatement or compensation for unfairly dismissed Numsa members. Already it has won compensation of almost R6 million for workers.

Numsa is committed to defending all old cases of unfair dismissals even though legal costs were “running into millions” said Booysen Mashego , Numsa’s national legal officer.

No longer ‘fire and hire’ The campaign is aimed at showing that under the liberated labour legislation, employers can no longer “fire and hire as it pleases them”, Mashego said.

At MMG Engineering, the courts ordered the company to reinstate and pay more than R1.8 million compensation on behalf of 29 members. This represents 12 months wages. The workers were unlawfully dismissed for allegedly participating in an unprotected strike in April 2000.

In another development, Goodyear tyre manufacturer was ordered to pay Themba Makhubalo about R510 000 for unlawful dismissal. Makhubalo was employed at Goodyear for more than 20 years. (see box)

An arbitration award amounting to R2.1m was given to 283 former employees dismissed by the engineering company Kromberg and Schubert in Brits.

The dismissed workers were forced to leave the company after a strike in May last year.

Meanwhile, a Santin Engineering was ordered to pay dismissed employees more than R500 000 after it lost a review with legal costs in the Johannesburg Labour Court . This followed an unprocedural strike in December 2003.

At Mandlakazi Pullins, about 58 workers were awarded more than R900 000 compensation for their unfair dismissal following a strike.

Mashego lambasted rampant employers who remained stuck in the “old order” and for their “intransigent and myopic approach” to labour legislation.

“Most employers still refuse to comply with arbitration awards issued by CCMA commissioners and instead seek court reviews. But, they have been proven wrong by the Labour Court and the Appeal Courts,” he said.

Contact Numsa If you were unfairly dismissed after 1996 and Numsa took up your case but you have heard nothing, contact your nearest Numsa office or Sakumzi Booi in the legal department at Numsa head office (011) 689 1700.

Umkhankaso IMababuyiselwe (babuyise)

INumsa izimisele ukuzama ukuwina ukubuyiselwa emsebenzini noma ukunxeshezelwa kwabasebenzi abaxoshwa ngokungenaqiniso.Seyiziwinile izigidi cishe ezingu-R4 zamarandi njengesinxephezelo sabo. Uma ngabe waxoshwa ngokungenaqiniso emva kuka-1996 iNumsa yase ilithatha icala lakho kodwa awaze wezwa lutho, thinta ihhovisi leNumsa eliseduze nawe noma u Sakumzi Booi emnyangweni wezomthetho ehhovisi elikhulu leNumsa (011) 689 1700.

Operasie Mababuyiselwe (bring hulle terug)

Numsa is vasbeslote om heraanstelling of vergoeding te probeer beding vir werkers wat onregverdig afgedank is.

Die vakbond het alreeds amper R4 miljoen in vergoeding vir hulle gewen.

As jy ná 1996 onregverdig afgedank is, en Numsa jou saak gehanteer het maar jy niks gehoor het nie, kan jy jou naaste Numsa-kantoor skakel. Of jy kan met Sakumzi Booi in die regsafdeling by Numsa se hoofkantoor in verbinding tree by (011) 689 1700.

Operation Mababuyiselwe (ha ba kgutliswe)

Numsa e ikemiseditse ho leka ho etsa hore basebetsi ba ileng ba tebelwa ka tsela e leeme ba kgutlisetswe mesebetsing ya bona kapa ka fuwe ditlhapiso.

Ha jwale e se e ntse e fumane R4 miliyone ya ditlhapiso bakeng sa bona.

Haebe o ile wa tebelwa ka tsela e leeme ka mora 1996 mme Numsa e ile ya tshwara nyewe ya hao empa ha o eso utlwe letho ka yona, o ka iteanya le ba ofisi e haufi le wena ya Numsa kapa Sakumzi Booi lekaleng la molao la ntlokgolo ya Numsa (011) 689 1700.