UASA Media Release: 12 January 2022
Statement by Abigail Moyo, spokesperson of the trade union UASA:
UASA demands that miner Lonmin ceases, with immediate effect, any deductions made from the wages of UASA members in terms of an agency shop agreement (dated 24 April 2019) between Lonmin and AMCU, and immediately refund all agency fee deductions made from UASA members’ wages in terms of this agency shop agreement, together with mora interest calculated from 24 June 2021 until date of payment.
This follows months of legal wrangling between AMCU and UASA in collaboration with Solidarity and NUM to oppose an agency shop agreement concluded on 24 April 2019 between AMCU and Lonmin. A few weeks later, on 24 June 2019, the Labour Court declared the agency agreement invalid and unenforceable, a ruling AMCU wanted to appeal.
However, this morning the Constitutional Court found there was no adequate explanation for AMCU’s delay in bringing the application for leave to appeal and that there were no reasonable prospects of success on the merits.
The court found that an agency shop agreement is binding only if it provides that employees who are not members of the representative trade union are not compelled to become members of that trade union. This is a mandatory provision. It followed that the agreement did not comply with the mandatory requirements of section 25(3), as it indicated only “that employees who are not members of any trade union shall not be compelled to be a member of AMCU”. The clause made provision only for employees who are not union members. It made no provision for employees who are members of other unions and failed to provide that such employees were not compelled to become members of AMCU.
Consequently, the Constitutional Court found that the Labour Court did not err in June 2019 in declaring the agreement invalid and unenforceable given its non-compliance with section 25(3), in interdicting the deduction of agency shop fees from the union’s members, and in ordering the return of fees deducted.
Condonation was refused and the application for leave to appeal failed. The Court has decided not to award costs.
For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Abigail Moyo at 065 170 0162.