Prasa arbitration victory

Ten workers employed by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) have won a ground-breaking victory in the CCMA which has upheld their case against unfair dismissal.
The ten, represented by the National union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), had entered into a trainee contract in April 2011. It stipulated that after the completion of their training programmes there would be no guarantee that they would become permanent employees of Prasa.
The date at which the training contracts officially expired was 21 July 2016, and they were then effectively dismissed in August 2016.
But they testified that they had written their trade tests between October 2014 and August 2015 and had been certified as proficient between May 2015 and March 2016 respectively, and that they had therefore been declared to be competent.
After these dates they continued to perform services and duties at Prasa, were being paid a stipend in excess of the R2000 stipulated in their trainee contracts and were loaded on to the company’s pay-roll system.
When Numsa challenged as to why they were being paid and continuing to perform services after the conclusion of their training, all Prasa’s Acting Senior HR manager could say was that that this was “an oversight”.
As the Commissioner, Larry Shear, said: “With due respect, an oversight cannot be regarded as an adequate defence”. He noted that “from the date that they concluded their training programmes and continued to provide services to the respondent for remuneration, their status changed from that of ‘trainee’ to that of ‘employee’.”
He ruled that “the applicants’ dismissals were both procedurally and substantively unfair” and ordered Prasa “to reinstate the applicants with retrospective effect at the salary stipulated in the various payslips which is R7 874.58”.
Prasa are consulting their lawyer to see if the award can be reviewed but Numsa is determined to ensure that the CCMA award is fully implemented.
We are still fighting for all members in Prasa to get organizational rights and to spread the message to potential members who may have worried that Numsa can’t represent them because they are not recognised yet that this award proves that we do represent all workers and win victories.
Together we stand and win! Divided we fall and fail!
Aluta continua!
Irvin Jim, Numsa General Secretary: 073 157 6384