Solidarity is privileged to announce that the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) has withdrawn the section 189A process, which would have affected 1 000 jobs, and that the trade union will soon commence with a task team that will investigate alternatives in order to avoid possible retrenchments in future.
This new turn of events in the ARC’s plans is the result of sustained pressure and actions taken by Solidarity. On 2 June 2020, the ARC issued a notice announcing plans to retrench 1 000 of its workers. In response, Solidarity entered into discussions with the ARC.
After strategic discussions with the ARC management, Solidarity expressed its dissatisfaction because the ARC management could not give any indication of the positions referred to in its notice of 2 June. “As it is part of the section 189A process, it is shocking that management is unable to provide the necessary information required by law. One would expect that management would have conducted a thorough analysis before taking such a drastic step that affected so many jobs,” said Pierru Marx, sector coordinator at Solidarity.
Solidarity was already involved in the third facilitated session with the ARC, but to date no progress could be made to start consultations with affected members. “It appears as if the ARC still does not have the necessary information to bring about effective consultations, and we had not choice but to ask the commissioner of the CCMA to intervene,” Marx argued. Consequently, the ARC was forced to withdraw the 189A.
Preparation for a strategic task team that will include all parties in order to find the best possible solution to the financial pressures that the ARC is experiencing at this stage, is currently being undertaken by Solidarity. “For Solidarity, it is crucial to protect its members’ jobs and income in this difficult time. We welcome the new developments and we will investigate all possible options to avoid any job losses,” Marx concluded.