The CCMA has granted members of UASA-The Union at Lonmin organisational rights.
Commissioner Hambidge had the difficult task of weighing the rights of minority unions to organise in the workplace up against that of an existing majority union at Lonmin who had concluded an agreement on thresholds with Lonmin.
Hambidge stated that she had to militate against the use of the “majoritarianism” principle by the majority union at Lonmin where this principle is used “as an implement of oppression to suppress minority unions”. The addition of Section 21 (8C) of the Labour Relations Act in 2014 was an amendment made in order to recognise that minority unions may not be overwhelmed and effectively bullied into submission by a single majority union. Hambidge went on to state that a mere “count of numbers” would lead to unfairness against minority unions and would constrain the ability of such union from operating in the workplace. She went on to state that a minority union “which represents significant important meritorious interests of members” should not be prevented from defending the interests of their members.
Acknowledgment was given to the weight of ‘not mere percentages’ but the influence which a union exerts in the workplace. The CCMA Ruling recognises the right of three existing unions acting together to be granted organising rights such as access to the workplace; deduction of union subscriptions by the employer and the granting of leave for certain union activities.
UASA-The Union was granted these rights even though an argument was put forward that the inclusion of minority unions would undermine the existing single bargaining unit. UASA-The Union has achieved a major victory in that employees may join the union of their choice.
The CCMA Commissioner ruled that the granting of organisational rights in the workplace are granted to UASA-The Union allowing this trade union a “stepping stone to assist in establishing a presence in the workplace and once it has increased its numbers it may prevail upon the employer to grant collective bargaining rights.
VIVA UASA VIVA!