South Africa: Cell C suspends 400 striking employees

Industrial action at Cell C has led to almost 400 employees being suspended. The move by the mobile operator comes after disruptive strike action this week that forced it to shut its Johannesburg head office.

“Cell C confirms that almost 400 staff were suspended,” the company told TechCentral on Friday evening.

“They were suspended for participating in an illegal strike and blocking other employees and customers from entering and leaving the premises,” the company said.Striking employees failed to comply with both ultimatums, leaving Cell C with no choice but to suspend them

“We were granted an interdict (from the labour court) to prevent them from blocking the access and exit to the campus, among other (things). The suspension followed two ultimatums that were issued on Wednesday by management requesting staff to desist from illegally blocking the company’s entrances and exits and to return to work.”

The workers are apparently members of the trade union ICTU. Some Cell C stores have also apparently been partially affected by the industrial action, which, it’s understood, relates in large part to demands that Cell C sign a collective bargaining agreement with the union. It’s also understood that Cell C wanted to appoint a mediator to have the collective bargaining agreement finalised, but that this was opposed by the union.

Striking workers blocking the main entrance and exit to Cell C’s Johannesburg campus on Thursday, 11 April

“Striking employees failed to comply with both ultimatums, leaving Cell C with no choice but to suspend them,” the company said.

There had been suggestions that 1 300 employees had been suspended, but internal Cell C communication seen by TechCentral dismissed this as false. Only staff who had received suspension notices were, in fact, suspended, and all other staff were expected to return to work. 

Source: NewsCentral Media