The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW) said late on Friday it was preparing for a strike at Dis-Chem Pharmacies across the country over the recognition of its organisational rights.
NUPSAW, an affiliate of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), said part of the action will take place at the Dis-Chem warehouse in Midrand, Johannesburg. The strike is expected to begin at 5am on Wednesday.
The union said that Dis-Chem refused to grant it organisational rights in terms of section 21 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA).
Section 21 of the LRA sets out considerations which the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) must take into account when it resolves a dispute about organisational rights -- whether or not a trade union is a representative trade union.
A dispute between NUPSAW and Dis-Chem was referred for conciliation to the CCMA in December 2017 but the matter remained unresolved. A certificate of non-resolution concerning organisational rights was then issued by the CCMA Commissioner.
"This gives our members the right to strike after giving seven days' notice in terms of section 21 of the Labour Relations Act," NUPSAW said in a statement.
"The employer's stubborn and extreme behaviour regarding the union's organisational rights has now set the stage for conflict and has left us with no other option but take this very unfortunate and painful decision, considering that it might also affect the sick and the frail who buy from Dis-Chem pharmacies."
NUPSAW said that Dis-Chem had also "inflicted excruciating pain" to employees who are its members on matters regarding their annual bonuses in December 2017.
"As NUPSAW our mission is to serve the best interest of our members, to fight discrimination on all levels and to ensure the distribution of economic resources in a just, equitable and humane manner."
African News Agency (ANA)