The Johannesburg Labour Court ruled today that the amounts for travel and accommodation claims the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) deducted from their employees’ salaries in September 2019, were unlawful and that no more deductions may be made. The Court further found that the ARC acted contrary to section 34 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
“Today’s ruling is a big victory for Solidarity members at the ARC, but it is also a big victory for the larger war to eradicate maladministration and the abuse of tax payers’ money,” Johan Botha, Deputy General Secretary for the Professional Industry, said.
This ruling follows the urgent application Solidarity brought against the ARC on 26 September 2019 after it came to the fore that the Institute deducted money related to travel and accommodation claims of previous years without approval from some of their employees’ salaries.
Botha argues that ARC employees are bound by policy to submit proof of their expenses if they travel for business purposes. Botha further says that Solidarity members confirmed that they submitted proof after their business trips and that these deductions were made to rectify the ARC’s poor financial administration and misplacement of documentation. “Although these policies must be adhered to, employees cannot be held responsible for the negligence and maladministration of the ARC,” Botha said.
According to Botha, Solidarity will not stop here. The next step is to start a process on behalf of the employees to recover the money that has been already deducted. “This type of maladministration and poor management decisions are unacceptable, and we will not leave it there. The interests and rights of our members must be protected at all times,” Botha concluded.