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Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union v South African Correctional Services Workers' Union and Others (CCT152/17) [2018] ZACC 24

28th August 2018

Read the full judgment on Saflii

[1]  This application for leave to appeal concerns a dispute between two rival unions over the right of a minority union to acquire organisational rights from an employer where the majority union has a pre-existing collective agreement with the employer setting a threshold of representativeness for admission to a departmental bargaining council, which the minority union does not meet.

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[2]  The majority union – the applicant – is the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU).  The minority union, which is a breakaway union from POPCRU, is the South African Correctional Services Workers’ Union (SACOSWU).  It is the first respondent.

[3]  The second respondent is the Minister of Correctional Services.  The third respondent is LGP Ledwaba N.O. (arbitrator) in his official capacity as an arbitrator of the General Public Service Sectoral Bargaining Council (GPSSBC) who made the arbitration award, which POPCRU took on review.  The fourth respondent is the GPSSBC.  The second to fourth respondents are not participating in these proceedings.

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[4]  POPCRU seeks to prevent SACOSWU from obtaining a foothold in the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).  It thus contends that its threshold agreement with the DCS, in terms of section 18 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA),[1] prohibits the latter from bargaining with and entering into a collective agreement granting organisational rights to SACOSWU.

[5]  SACOSWU, on the other hand, submits that section 18 merely authorises employers and majority unions, such as POPCRU, to establish a threshold for the automatic acquisition of the organisational rights referred to there.  SACOSWU argues that section 18 does not – as section 20 makes clear – bar minority unions from bargaining for and obtaining the self-same organisational rights from an employer.  As this matter involves the interpretation of the provisions of the LRA, this Court has jurisdiction.

  

EDITED BY: Creamer Media Reporter
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