Union takes up warders’ equity case

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IOL  ct equity Judgment IAM_2529 done CAPE TIMES From left to right in uniform, Geo-Nita Baartman, Christopher February, Teresa Abrahams and Derik Wehr celebrate coloured warders in the Western Capes Labour Court victory. File photo: Armand Hough

Cape Town - Trade union Solidarity will take the correctional services department to the Labour Court in Cape Town on Friday for disregarding a ruling, the union said.

The department allegedly disregarded the court's ruling in October that it should not only take national demographics into consideration when implementing affirmative action policies, Solidarity executive officer Dirk Hermann said in a statement.

Hermann said the department argued that the ruling need not be implemented as it had lodged an appeal against it.

He said the union would seek interim relief in terms of which the department would be forced to adhere to the order until the case was heard by the Labour Appeal Court.

The Labour Court in October ruled that the department had to take immediate steps to take both national and regional demographics into account when setting equity targets. This was applicable at all levels of the department's work force.

Judge Hilary Rabkin-Naicker ruled in favour of 10 Western Cape correctional service officials who had challenged the department's employment equity plan. Initially five officials challenged the department and they were followed by another five who had been overlooked for promotion because of their race.

Solidarity, which took up the matter on behalf of the 10, said in a statement at the time that coloured employees were disadvantaged by the use of national demographics.

The judge ruled that all 10 officials were black employees in terms of the Employment Equity Act. He found they had suffered unfair discrimination in the selection process used for promotion to various posts.

Hermann said at the time that in terms of the department's affirmative action plan, the national demography had to be reflected in every workplace, even at a provincial and regional level.

“As a result, in the Western Cape, coloured employees, in particular, almost have no chance anymore to be promoted or appointed,” Hermann said.

On Thursday, Hermann said the department had advertised jobs which its members (the applicants) had applied for.

“It appears that the department is determined to use the national demography, thereby evading its obligations in terms of the court order. Although Solidarity has requested the department not to advertise the posts for which the applicants in the case had applied pending the appeal, the department has, nevertheless, indicated that it was going to advertise the posts.”

Hermann said the union would make sure the department adhered to the court order.

The department was not available for comment.


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