Meatco workers back on overtime grind

Meatco workers have resumed overtime work this week. This followed after Meatco approached the Labour Court on 08 April 2013, on an urgent basis to declare the industrial action of its employees, which include an overtime ban and an operational “go-slow”, in contravention with employment agreements, the Recognition Agreement with NAFAU and the employees and the Labour Act. Meatco further applied for an interdict to restrain its workers from continuing with this action and to not interfere with or obstruct operations. This included but was not limited to the intimidation of fellow employees and interference with Meatco’s daily operations.
The court found that it had no jurisdiction to make a decision on the basis that a dispute was not lodged with the Office of the Labour Commissioner’s and a resolution on this dispute was not pending at the time the request for an interdict was made by Meatco.
Judge Dave Smuts, who presided over the hearing, did however say that in his view, once the conditions of employment included an obligation to work overtime when required, it would follow that the refusal to do so during wage negotiations would constitute industrial action on the part of those employees.