Bombela, the operator of the Gautrain, got mud on its face for a second time within weeks in the Labour Court in Johannesburg, when Judge Edwin Tlhotlhalemaje ruled in favour of the United National Transport Union (UNTU) in a technical dispute in the Equal Work, Equal Pay pending claim.
Judge Tlhotlhalemaje granted UNTU leave to amend its statement of case after Bombela complained that it was too “vague” for the operator to respond. The Judge dismissed Bombela’s exceptions and ordered the company to file and serve an answering statement to the Applicant’s amended statement of case within 30 (Thirty) days from the date of the judgement.
Bombela must now file its response the second week in March 2018.
“In essence, exceptions should not be raised at the spur of the moment for the purposes of merely frustrating a claim.
“UNTU’s claim is premised on the provisions of Sections 6(1) of the Employment Equity Act, which provides that no person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee in an employment policy or practice on one of a number of its specified grounds as set out in that section, which include “on any other arbitrary ground”. It further relied on the provisions of section 6 (4) of the EEA in substantiation of its claim,” said Judge Tlhotlhalemaje.
Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, welcomed the judgement. “Finally, the Union can continue with this case that has been long overdue to the frustration of our members who are not being treated equally and fairly by their employer.”
UNTU represents most employees of Bombela.
According to the judgement Bombela employs security personnel at various Gautrain Stations and trains. The security personnel are divided into two categories, namely the Station Security Manager and the Assistant Security Manager.
The difference between the two positions is in respect of the inherent job requirements of the positions. A Station Security Manager is required to have at least ten (10) years’ previous working experience in the Police Service at a rank of Warrant Officer or above and/or at least fifteen (15) years’ experience in the Security Industry.
On the other hand the Assistant Station Security Manager is required to have at least five (5) years’ previous working experience in the Police Service at a rank of Sergeant or above and/or at least seven (7) years’ experience in the security industry.
Harris says UNTU contends that security personnel are employed centrally and are stationed on an ad-hoc and/ or rotational basis at different Gautrain stations. According to the Union, Station Security Managers who performs the same work do not receive equal remuneration. Similarly, Assistant Station Security Managers who performs the same work do not receive equal remuneration.
“The discrepancies in the remuneration are arbitrary and amount to unfair discrimination under the EEA. The provisions of section 6(4) of the EEA contemplate a difference in the terms and conditions of employment between employees of the same employer performing the same or substantially the same work or work of equal value that is directly based on any of the grounds listed above is unfair discrimination.
“Although the payment of different remuneration for equal work does not automatically constitute unfair discrimination, the motive for doing so amounts to direct or indirect discrimination on any listed or arbitrary ground and constitutes unfair discrimination,” says Harris.
For more information phone Harris on 082 566 5516.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Media and Liaison Officer. For UNTU Press Statements phone 082 463 6806 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org