On 15 September 2021, the MEIBC issued a certificate of non-resolution in the ongoing wage, and substantive issues dispute in the industry.
In terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA), the next step in the process is now for the parties to agree on picketing rules. If the parties cannot agree on picketing rules, the matter must again be set down at the MEIBC for a commissioner to determine the picketing rules.
Only after picketing rules are in place will NUMSA be entitled to proceed to strike action on 48 hours’ notice.
If NUMSA proceeds to strike action before picketing rules are in place, the strike will be unprotected.
The only way the LRA allows a protected strike to proceed without picketing rules in place is where the Union indicated that they do not intend to picket in support of the strike. Considering NUMSA’s recent public threats regarding picketing, that does not appear to be the case here.
Irrespective of whether the strike is protected or unprotected, the normal ‘no work no pay’ principle will apply.
Employers will also be entitled to lockout striking workers (once the notice of strike has been served). Every business should evaluate its own requirements in this regard.
Please contact your nearest SEESA office should you require any assistance, in general, or with the lockout option specifically.
We will communicate further as soon as picketing rules are in place or the notice to strike has been served.