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Urgent update 31/01/01

We have just received a note from the company that they want to take the matter directly to the Labour Appeal Court. What they have not told the public is that the VWSA management want to review the principle that the arbitrator has the discretion to make an award for reinstatement on the merits of the case as a whole. They want to limit the powers of arbitrators that if it comes down to only unprocedural dismissal then the only thing that the arbitrator can do is to award compensation. This will lead to a massive spate of dismissals of shopfloor fighters. VWSA is proposing to deal with the appeal in 2 phases. Firstly to hear the principle of the arbitrator's discretion and then separately look at the merits of the case at a later stage, if at all.

Please inform others of the implications of the company's appeal. Secondly, in order for the workers to go this route of challenging the company, they need about R200 000, immediately [this is the latest legal estimate which includes flying in advocates and other help. If the opposition of the interdict is lost then the workers may face a massive cost order against them individually] The hearing of the interdict is set for Friday 2/02/01 where the company wants to prevent the implementation of the award and the return to work of the 5th Feb 2001. The company is lying about the impact of the return to work would mean the prejudicing of those temps who were taken on in the place of the dismissed workers. Most of these have been dismissed in December last year. If it will help, we could by tomorrow e-mail a copy of one such standard termination letter. It is important to expose the company on this. The balance of the temps have already been given notices of termination to finish off by later in February. We are still trying to get hold of such letters.

If there is any other information needed then we can send this asap.

thanks very much for the effort!



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