Unions must follow the law

Reports that the National Amalgamated Central, Local & Parastatal Manual Workers’ Union is facing a lawsuit from seven of its former employees for unfair retrenchment, underpayment of accrued leave days and failure to pay for unexpired contracts are shocking and very disturbing.

The alleged claims come on the back of a recent restructuring exercise that took place at the union. It is said that the aggrieved ex-employees want the Industrial Court to declare that their retrenchments were unlawful, as the union didn’t follow the right procedures, and failed to honour the contractual obligations entered in between the employer and the employees. The employees further argue that the union failed and/or neglected to inform the affected or likely to be affected individuals and instead opted to communicate the impending retrenchment through an internal memo.

While we know that the union is an entity that can sue and be sued, it is very troubling for unions to get on the wrong side of the law and be embroiled in labour disputes with their employees. This is so because the union is supposed to ensure the protection of its members’ rights against the employers and ensure that all workers have access to a decent life and decent work in a healthy environment. This also applies to unions when they are employers.

Editor's Comment
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