SAFA restructuring goes ahead

2012-11-14 17:53

Johannesburg - Restructuring at the SA Football Association (SAFA) will continue, after a failed urgent application by banking union BIFAWU to halt the process, the union said on Wednesday

The Labour Court dismissed the urgent application by the Banking Insurance Finance and Assurance Workers' Union (BIFAWU) on Tuesday.

"The effect of yesterday's judgment is that the union could not be granted an interim relief it sought until the dispute between the parties is resolved," it said in a statement.

"While it was the union's wish to avert [the] threat posed by SAFA to implement a new structure by set date... it appears SAFA has now a leeway and that it can go ahead to restructure the workplace, as it is not possible to get any date soon to hear the merits of the case."

SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani said in a statement on Tuesday that the organisation would continue to discuss the process of restructuring.

"Restructuring an organisation is not an easy task, and there have been many difficulties along the way," he said.

"Just today [Tuesday], we have heard that a challenge to this process brought by the union, BIFAWU, has been dismissed in the Labour Court with costs."

According to BIFAWU, SAFA chief executive Robin Petersen told staff in October about the planned restructuring.

In terms of the new structure, employees had to re-apply for their jobs.

In doing so, SAFA allegedly arrogated itself the right to change the terms and conditions of employees' contracts of employment.

SAFA spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi was not immediately available to confirm the terms.

BIFAWU said it had a collective bargaining agreement with SAFA, which set out the processes of restructuring.

It said SAFA was also bound by section 189a of the Labour Relations Act to consult with unions before restructuring.

During consultations between the two, SAFA allegedly told staff the restructuring would take place on December 1.

BIFAWU said this was done "behind the union's back", and filed the urgent application.

SAFA argued in the Labour Court that there was no urgency and that BIFAWU should have brought the matter in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

BIFAWU said SAFA was going to do the re-structuring in terms of the act, but abandoned that when the union focused on the agreement.