Summary: (Urgent interdict – return day - unprotected strike of labour broker employees – locus standi of labour broker client to launch interdict)
On 23 January 2012, an interim interdict was granted by this court on an urgent basis declaring the strike action of the fourth to further respondents to be unprotected strike action in terms of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 ("the LRA"). The strikers were interdicted from continuing with the strike and prohibited from interfering in a variety of ways with the business of the applicant as well as restrained from coming within 500 metres of the applicants premises.
The strikers were not employees of the applicant, the Post Office, but employees of various subcontractors providing labour to the Post Office to perform mail-sorting duties at approximately 23 depots in Gauteng province. The first to third respondents were the subcontractors whose employees were on strike. Only one of them, the first respondent opposed the application, while the others essentially played a passive role in the proceedings.
The strikers' main demand was that they be made permanent employees of the applicant instead of remaining subcontracted workers. Prior to the strike commencing they did not refer any dispute to the CCMA nor did they give any notice of the strike before it commenced. No new evidence contradicting these factual assertions made by the applicant originally was before the court on the return day. Accordingly, there is no reason to doubt that the strike was an unprotected one in terms of section 64 (1) (a) and (b) of the LRA.
On 8 February 2012, the applicant filed a supplementary affidavit in which it claimed that the interim court order had not been heeded and the strike had spread to other depots. In so far as the applicant has made out a case that the strike action is ongoing, the need for a final prohibitory interdict has been established, subject to overcoming the objections raised by the fourth to further respondents on the return day.