Today, Monday 29 June 2009 in the Durban Labour Court Honourable Justice Van Niekerk delivered a judgement on the interpretation of the judgement handed down on 17 June 2009 in Johannesburg Labour Court on the matter of retrenchments brought about by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) against the worse employer in the South African automotive industry, General Motors South Africa (GMSA).
On 17 June 2009 Johannesburg Labour Court found that the retrenchments initiated by GMSA during April were procedurally unfair. The Labour Court ordered that it shall determine the amount of compensation to which the retrenched workers are entitled. Following this judgement NUMSA initiated a process to ensure that all the affected employees regardless whether they were on Short Term Contracts (STCs) or permanent receive fair compensation. GMSA challenged NUMSA’s interpretation, wanting to exclude from compensation about 180 retrenched workers on the basis that they were on STCs or retrenched after April 2009. As a result the matter had to go back to the Labour Court.
Again the Labour Court in Durban today found that the retrenchments initiated by GMSA after April were procedurally unfair. The Labour Court ruling also clears the way for NUMSA to seek compensation for STC workers who were unfairly retrenched by GMSA. The total number of employees for whom NUMSA will be seeking fair compensation is approximately 460. The union will from tomorrow, 30 June 2009 embark on this process.
NUMSA wants to ensure that retrenched workers are compensated the amount not less than the wages they would have earned had they not been retrenched. In addition, the union wants members to be compensated for all the losses they individually incurred as a result of GMSA’s retrenchment spree.
NUMSA shall pursue GMSA to the end. We hope that other employers will learn a good lesson out of this.
For more information contact
Alex Mashilo; 082 9200308
Issued by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, Johannesburg