Numsa welcomes Labour Court’s interdict against steel company

SA Steel Mills allegedly suspended 162 workers on allegations of misconduct. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/Independent Newspapers

SA Steel Mills allegedly suspended 162 workers on allegations of misconduct. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/Independent Newspapers

Published May 8, 2024


The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has welcomed the Labour Court’s interdict preventing SA Steel Mills from unlawfully dismissing its workers.

Yesterday, Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the union was forced to approach the Labour Court in Johannesburg on an urgent basis to block the owners of SA Steel Mills from abusing their power and unlawfully dismissing workers.

This comes after the Sedibeng-based steel firm allegedly suspended 162 workers on allegations of misconduct after the workers embarked on an alleged unprotected strike last month, with Numsa insisting that it was a protected strike.

“Our members went on a protected strike on April 16, and the court granted the company a temporary interdict to block the strike on April 19. Arguments on whether the interim order should be made permanent will be made on May 9 at the Labour Court in Johannesburg.

“The court has not made a final determination on the legality of the strike, therefore, it is unfair for SA Steel Mills to discipline and attempt to dismiss workers over this when the courts have not pronounced on it,” Hlubi-Majola said.

Last year, Numsa accused the same company of exploiting its workers following the death of one of its employees in July last year.

Numsa said it had no choice but to approach the Labour Court on an urgent basis to ensure workers are allowed to return to work as the company engaged in unlawful disciplinary processes to get rid of its employees.

“We had no choice but to rush to court to defend workers on an urgent basis because the employer has been tailoring its case to dismiss workers through unlawful means in internal proceedings. It has set up a sham disciplinary process, and it has already found them guilty and intends to dismiss them.

“Numsa had to institute an urgent application to interdict and restrain the employer from dismissing members until such time as the Labour Court determines the legality of the strike. We contend that the strike is protected because we followed the procedures of the Labour Relations Act,” Numsa said.

The union has welcomed the interim relief granted in their favour until tomorrow when the matter will be finalised.

“The applicant’s failure to comply with the rules of this court is condoned and the matter is heard as one of urgency.

“Pending the finalisation of the proceedings and the return date of the matter under case number J402/2024, the respondent is interdicted and restrained from imposing any disciplinary sanction against the individual applicants listed in annexure ‘x’ of the founding affidavit,“ the court ruled.

Numsa said it welcomes this order of the court, which will ensure no sanctions are taken against the affected employees.

“This basically means the bosses at SA Steel Mills are not allowed to proceed with any more disciplinary hearings, and they are prevented from implementing any findings from the hearings until the matter of the legality of the strike has been ventilated in court, on Thursday the 9th of May,” said Hlubi-Majola.

The Star

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