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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Tshwane defies court judgment and rejects the reinstatement of over 200 contract workers

The city also said the former contract workers could not return to work until the Labour Court has fully ventilated the matter.


The former Capacity workers who were excited to start working this week after the Bargaining Council ruled they be reinstated were left disappointed when the City of Tshwane rejected the ruling and went to court.

Last week, the former workers were delighted when the city was ordered to reappoint and reimbursed them after they were allegedly unlawfully let go in 2020 when their contracts expired and the city refused to reinstate them.

The city has rejected the Bargaining Council ruling and said it will have it reviewed at the Labour Court.

“The City of Tshwane has begun a process to review the Bargaining Council’s ruling to reinstate the 89 so-called capacity workers at the Labour Court in Johannesburg, as we believe that a different court would most likely arrive at a different outcome,” the city said.

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The city said it employed 627 workers to assist with waste management on a fixed 12-month contract from November 2019 until 31 October, 2020.

“Upon expiry of their contract, 89 of those workers demanded to be permanently absorbed as city employees.

“When the city insisted that they cannot be absorbed into the organisational structure as their contracts had expired, they took the matter to the Bargaining Council on the grounds of unfair dismissal.”

Tshwane said it strenuously disagreed with the ruling and decided to take the Bargaining Council’s ruling to court. The city also said the former contract workers could not return to work until the Labour Court has fully ventilated the matter.

The leader of the Capacity workers, Cedric Cele it was painful for people not to receive their money as per the ruling.

“I am not surprised that the [Democratic Alliance] administration would waste the money of the municipality to fight poor people who were denied UIF money and annual leave,” he said.

“We have been struggling for 16 months and employees were hoping that they will finally be able to pay off some loans.”

Cele said they are going to follow up on the issue of the city deliberately failing to comply with the ruling, especially payment of money owed to employees.

Labour expert Tony Healy said any employee or employees that lost a case at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) or Bargaining Council, had the right to appeal a case. He said above the CCMA and Bargain Council there was the Labour Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.

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“It’s not uncommon for cases to be reviewed or appealed,” Healy added.

He said it was possible the Bargaining Council ruling might be overruled by the Labour Court or any other court after that. He said the case could be appealed but it would take many years to finalise – should it reach that point.