This matter concerns the unfortunate reality of retrenchments, where a company chooses to dismiss a portion of its workforce in order to remain economically viable or competitive. This process often occurs unexpectedly. It typically has the destructive effect of leaving certain employees jobless through no fault of their own. That is precisely what happened in this case. A platinum mine operated by Royal Bafokeng Platinum Limited (respondent) decided to retrench 103 of its employees, some of whom were members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), including the second to further applicants in this matter (applicants).
 This is how it happened. On 30 September 2015, during the early hours of the morning, the applicants and various other employees, arrived at the mine to begin their workday. Their attempts to clock in for work were unsuccessful. To their surprise, the access system at the mine no longer afforded them entry. The employees were instructed to wait outside the mine entrance until a time at which the respondent’s human resources personnel could address them.