Uasa delighted over Labour Court judgment against Impala Platinum

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Jan 23, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - The Union Association of South Africa (Uasa) scored a major victory after the Labour Court ruled against Impala Platinum (Implats) for an unlawful deduction of workers' leave days during the five-month platinum belt strike in 2014.

Uasa blamed Implats for forcing 95 of its members, comprising managers and supervisors, to stay home during the strike for the duration of the bruising strike. In 2014 Amcu led 70000 members in a wage strike at South Africa’s biggest platinum producers Implats, Anglo American Platinum, and Lonmin.

The court ruled that any leave days forced on to Level D employees during the strike was unlawful and ordered that the lost leave days, in some cases up to 103 days per employee, be reinstated with immediate effect.

Uasa spokesperson, Stanford Mazhindu, said that the court ruling was a major victory.

“Uasa is pleased with the Labour Court judgment, it has been 6 years since the beginning of this case and we are pleased to have gotten our members the judgment they truly deserve,” said Mazhindu.

South Africa accounts for about 80percent of the world’s platinum production and the strike resulted in the companies losing about 40percent of platinum production that started in January 2014.

The strike took around 440000 ounces of platinum out of production. The mining companies lost more than R24billion in earnings, while employees have forfeited earnings of some R10.3bn.

Johan Theron, Implats spokesperson, said the company was still considering the judgment and its options moving forward.

"There are only 66 Uasa members, not 95, who formed part of the judgment. In terms of the judgment, the leave used by the 66 Uasa members during the strike has to be credited to them," said Theron.

Uasa said it was the company’s inability to ensure a safe workplace during the strike that resulted in non-striking employees being sent home.

Mazhindu said that in 2014 Uasa members were not taking part in the Amcu strike, but could not go to work, because of the violence and intimidation during the strike action.

“However, the workers were, of course, not on leave at all,” Mazhindu emphasised.

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