NEWSFLASH Unprotected strikes
Updated: Oct 14, 2019
The collective agreements of certain Bargaining Councils prescribe that matters of mutual interest must be dealt with at Bargaining Council level. In a recent Labour Appeal Court judgment, the Court held that the requirements of the constitution of the Motor Industry Bargaining Council (“MIBCO”) in this regard are directed at uniformity and orderly substantive outcomes. The union had tried to bargain at plant level over matters which ought to have been negotiated at Bargaining Council level (in terms of MIBCO’s constitution). The strike which followed when the union’s plant-level demands were not met was held to have undermined centralised bargaining. The strike was accordingly unprotected and could be interdicted.
When employees who fall under a Bargaining Council make demands about matters of mutual interest at plant level and then threaten to go on strike, go to the relevant Bargaining Council main agreement. You may well establish that the Union cannot introduce two-tier bargaining and then embark upon industrial action when their demands at plant-level are not met.