Trade union Solidarity today announced that in terms of a ruling by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), it is in fact entitled to apply for recognition as a trade union within the South African Police Service (SAPS). This followed after five parties had raised their views to prevent Solidarity from organising within the SAPS.
Solidarity’s argument that the recent changes in legislation should particularly benefit minority trade unions prevented from organising among their members due to high threshold agreements, was accepted by CCMA Commissioner James Matshekga. The arguments put forward by Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) and supported by the South African Policing Union (SAPU), the SAPD, the Safety and Security Sectoral Bargaining Council (SSSBC) as well as the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) were rejected by Matshekga.
According to Anton van der Bijl, head of Solidarity’s Centre for Fair Labour Practices, this ruling underlines the fact that a minority trade union not achieving the threshold for recognition may still apply for organisational rights if it is able to prove that it is serving a significant interest. “Solidarity protects various issues of significant importance to our members; issues that majority trade unions pay no attention to. For example, majority trade unions in the SAPS actively litigate against Solidarity in cases that involve the application of affirmative action in the SAPS – cases in which Solidarity protects the rights of minority groups that often suffer serious injustices due to unfair affirmative action measures in the SAPS,” Van der Bijl explained.
Van der Bijl declared that Solidarity was looking forward to the arbitration on the application for recognition. In terms of the ruling, the application must be scheduled as soon as possible. “We are excited to be able to open the door for minority rights in a suffocating and merciless majority environment,” Van der Bijl explained.