Numsa is a male dominated union, but with the influx of women in these previously male dominated industries, sexual harassment cases are a time bomb waiting to explode. In the Western Cape Region’s, Atlantis local, a case of sexual harassment has just been referred to the Labour court for adjudication after the matter was heard and not resolved on July 13 at the CCMA.
The company has approximately 250 employees of which about 30 are female. It has a history of sexual harassment incidences where some foremen abuse their positions of authority to get sexual favours from women in return for employment security. This was confirmed by a woman who resigned from the company due to continued harassment after management refused to investigate her claims.
Ukuhlupha ngokobulili – sesilungile?
Ilungu lowesifazane efektri yeNumsa e-Atlantis eKapa uhambisa icala lakhe lokuhlushwa ngokocansi eNkantolo Yemisebenzi.
Iminyaka ebekezelele ukuqhubukushwa ngokocansi okungafuneki kanye neziphakamiso, ama-sms ayinhlamba kwaze kwafika lapho engasakwazi ukukubekezelela khona wayesemangalela umphehli wokubi okushiwoyo. Ufungile ukuthi angeke esule emsebenzini noma emukele imali yokubuyisana kodwa uzoqhubeka elwela ukuthi axoshwe.
Kodwa-ke ukuwina icala lokuhlushwa ngokocansi akulula. Isisebenzi sezomthetho kuzwelonke seNumsa, uNeo Ramafalo, uxwayisa ngokuthi iNumsa kudingeka ukuthi iqeqeshe ngokushesha amagosa ayo ngalolu daba.
The current case involves comrade X. She experienced unwanted advances from a foreman but despite reporting them, management did nothing. The final straw was when the same foreman made suggestive remarks and started sending her lewd sms messages, one of which her daughter came across, where he requested her to give him a “blowjob”. She had to explain to her 14 year old daughter what this meant.
Formal complaintThis led her to make a formal complaint against the foreman. However at the hearing held on May 25, she discovered that the chairperson of the hearing was the perpetrator’s immediate superior to whom she had previously complained about the harassment but who had taken no action against the perpetrator. In the hearing, she told the chairperson of the content of the perpetrator’s sms messages and how he had once even asked her and a colleague to have a threesome with him.
The foreman agreed that he had sent her sms but denied having sent her any suggestive remarks. The chairperson found him not guilty of sexual harassment and gave him a written warning. On appeal, the chairperson of the appeal upheld the decision of the previous hearing, What is ironic is that due to the shop steward’s inability to deal with this case, he advised her to accept the outcome of the appeal. This was then used against the union at conciliation because the company suggested that the shop steward was not confident of the member’s allegations against the foreman. This was due to the fact that the company’s attorney had intimidated the shop steward with his arguments at the appeal hearing.
Seksuele teistering – is ons gereed?
“˜n Vroulike lid by “˜n Numsa-fabriek in Atlantis in Kaapstad gaan nou haar seksuele teisteringsaak na die Arbeidshof toe neem.
Sy het jare lank ongewenste seksuele aanleidings en voorstelle en SMSe van “˜n seksuele aard verduur totdat sy dit nie meer kon verdra nie, en “˜n klag teen die beweerde oortreder gelíª het. Sy het gesweer om nie te bedank of “˜n geldelike skikking te aanvaar nie, maar om aan te hou om om sy afdanking te veg.
Dit is egter nie maklik om “˜n saak van seksuele teistering te wen nie. Neo Ramafalo, Numsa se nasionale regsbeampte, waarsku dat Numsa sy vloerbeamptes dringend omtrent hierdie kwessie moet oplei.
Support from colleaguesComrade X says, “although relations between me and management have deteriorated, I have 100% support from both male and female colleagues and whilst I’m being victimised, I will not submit and leave the company in order for this man to continue his deeds with my fellow female comrades. It’s a matter of principle. How long is this type of abuse going to continue if I roll over and play dead? I’m not worried about the consequences and strongly believe that this foreman should be dismissed.”
Meanwhile national legal officer Neo Ramafalo agrees that Numsa needs to provide urgent training to its shop stewards on the issue. Ramafalo says that just recently, two shop stewards were themselves charged with sexual harassment because of their line of questioning when representing another person in a sexual harassment hearing.
Tshotlo ka tsa thobalano – na re se re itokiseditse?
Setho se seng sa mosadi fekethering ya Numsa e mane Atlantis, Cape Town, se isa nyewe ya sona ya tshotlo ka thobalano Lekgotleng la Dinyewe tsa Mosebetsi.
E se e le dilemo se ntse se mamelletse ketso tseo tse sa lokang tse tsamaelanang le tshotlo ka tsa thobalano, ekasitana le di-sms tse neng di mo ferekanya maikutlo, ho fihlela a se a sa kgone ho itshwara, ya ba o bula nyewe kgahlanong le motho eo ho nang le menyenyetsi ya hore o a mo sotla. Setho sena se ikanne hore se ke ke sa leboha mosebetsi kapa sa amohela tharollo ya nyewe ka ho leshwa tjhelete ka ntle ho lekgotla, empa se tla tswela pele ho lwana ho fihlela motho eo a tebelwa mosebetsing. Le ha ho le jwalo, ho fenya nyewe ya tshotlo ka tsa thobalano ha ho bonolo. Mohlanka wa molao wa naha wa Numsa, Neo Ramafalo, o fana ka temoso ya hore Numsa e tshwanetse ho rupella di-shopsteward tsa yona ka taba ena.
Labour Pains: women’s leadership and gender strategies in CosatuHot off the press is Naledi’s new book, Labour Pains. Packed full of photos, both historical and of the present, the book takes a long, hard look at the struggle for gender equality in the trade unions.
Numsa leaders and photographs feature strongly in the more than 200-page book. Through interviews of both men and women trade unionists, the book explores the advances and setbacks that women have made in the labour field, the challenges that women face in male-dominated organisations and what strategies they have developed to counter this fact of life.
The final chapter draws out key strategies that have worked in various trade unions so as to guide other trade unions on gender issues.
If you want to get a copy of the book, enter the crossword competition on page 18 or phone Naledi on 011-403 2122 or write to them at PO Box 5665 Johannesburg 2000.