Labour Court interdicts Banking Strike

South Africa’s Labour Court has ruled in favour of Business Unity South Africa’s (Busa’s) application to interdict a major banking strike planned for Friday (27 September).

In a judgement handed down on Thursday, the court said that the action was unlawful – effectively preventing what would have been South Africa’s largest banking strike in 99 years.

The strike was planned by the country’s largest financial union, Sasbo, and had received additional support from the country’s largest trade federation Cosatu.

Business Unity South African (BUSA) aimed to stop the protest, as Cosatu’s notice sent to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) – under which Sasbo is planning to act – may not have satisfied the requirements for the action to be legally protected.

Busa said that the Nedlac notice was first issued in August 2017 and should not be relied on in 2019.

In the ruling, the Labour Court said that Cosatu and Sasbo failed to comply with the provisions of s77(1) of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).

“Any person who takes part in the intended protest action does not enjoy the protections afforded by s67 of the LRA. Cosatu and Sasbo are hereby interdicted and restrained from preceding with, encouraging or enticing employees to engage in the intended protest action, unless or until such time they have complied with s77 of the LRA.”

Both Cosatu and Sasbo have indicated that they will appeal the ruling before the end of the day.

In a press briefing following the ruling, Cosatu said that it would appeal the ruling while continuing to mobilise workers. It said it would also resubmit the necessary applications for protest action, and considers the court ruling a suspension, not a cancellation.

“By the 7th of October we will be going out – we are not going to demobilise. We are saying to our workers, we do not expect you to be out there tomorrow on the streets, but let’s continue to mobilise and continue to fight against the scourge of retrenchments.”

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