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Court holds CWU members in contempt

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The Labour Court on Friday gave an order that 14 Communication Workers Union (CWU) members, including their president, must on the return date, in November 2016, appear in court to show cause why the court should not hold them to be in contempt for contravening the interdict secured by Telkom on 15 August 2016.

The interdict prohibits the CWU and its members from blockading Telkom entrances and exits and restrained CWU from interfering with Telkom’s operations.

Telkom employees along with contractors, customers, suppliers, and shoppers, this week, in various malls, have been subjected to threats and intimidation by the strikers. This includes an incident in which a brick was thrown through the car window of a non-striking employee as the employee was trying to leave a Telkom facility in Randburg.

The court has ordered the 14 CWU members to submit written affidavits providing reasons why the court should not make the order final. All 14 CWU members have been ordered to pay Telkom’s legal costs.

“The safety of our staff and customers is of the utmost importance and we are relieved that the court has stepped in to put a stop to this criminal behaviour,” says Telkom spokesperson Jacqui O’Sullivan.

This is the second time this week that the CWU has been ruled against, by the labour court, for its poor conduct.

On Wednesday the Labour Court ruled against the CWU’s application to interdict Telkom from completing the Section 189 (retrenchment) phase of the company’s restructuring of its corporate office.

The court described the union as “confrontational”, “obstructionist” and noted that the CWU had withheld key facts from its founding affidavit.

The judge found no unfairness in the circumstances surrounding Telkom’s restructuring process and instead found that the conduct of CWU itself had undermined consultation efforts.