Court or­ders strik­ing Ned­bank em­ploy­ees to move away from bank en­trance

Observer on Saturday - - News - By Nozipho Sibiya and Phesheya Kunene

Ned­bank man­age­ment and strik­ing em­ploy­ees yes­ter­day clashed over the lat­ter’s bound­aries dur­ing the pick­et­ing that took place at the bank’s head­quar­ters in Mba­bane.

The mat­ter, was there­fore, taken to court by the bank where an in­terim or­der was is­sued that the em­ploy­ees do not block the bank’s en­trance. In­dus­trial Court Judge Manene Th­wala or­dered that a writ­ten mem­o­ran­dum be is­sued for the re­spon­dents to fol­low the rul­ing.The mat­ter was stood down un­til Mon­day.

It all started when the two par­ties clashed over bound­aries for the em­ploy­ees as it was felt they were in­tim­i­dat­ing the bank’s clients when pick­et­ing at the Ned­bank Head­quar­ters’ en­trance in Mba­bane yes­ter­day.

The man­age­ment, there­fore, re­quested the court to re­move the strik­ing em­ploy­ees in front of the bank en­trance since it was felt they were ob­struct­ing their clients. They ac­tu­ally re­quested that the em­ploy­ees stand 20 me­tres away from the bank’s main en­trance.

The bank’s lawyer Zweli Jele and Head of Le­gal Af­fairs Penuel Gwebu were found out­side the bank try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate for the re­moval of the strik­ing em­ploy­ees by po­lice.

The Ned­bank le­gal team, which was led by Gwebu, fre­quented the High Court premises yes­ter­day as they were ea­ger to se­cure a fa­vor­able rul­ing with re­spect to the on­go­ing pick­et­ing out­side the bank’s premises by its em­ploy­ees.

When the bank’s at­tor­ney Zweli Jele of Robin­son Ber­tram At­tor­neys first ap­proached the court at around 10am, the or­der that was se­cured did not seem to please the bank as they re­turned to the In­dus­trial Court be­fore Judge Th­wala.

Jele sub­mit­ted be­fore court that the re­spon­dents, SUFIAWU, and its mem­bers, who are cur­rently en­gaged in a strike ac­tion, be re­stricted to carry out their picket ac­tion ap­prox­i­mately 20 me­tres away from the en­trance of the bank’s head of­fices sit­u­ated at the Swazi Plaza, the Ned­bank Mba­bane branch sit­u­ated at the Cor­po­rate Place, the Mat­sapha branch and Manzini branch sit­u­ated at Nkoseluh­laza Street.

Jele said the ap­pli­ca­tion was meant to in­ter­dict the em­ploy­ees who are on strike and re­strain­ing them from em­bark­ing upon any acts of vi­o­lence and in­tim­i­da­tion or threats against cus­tomers, em­ploy­ees, clients and sup­pli­ers and any other per­son from any of the Ned­bank Swazi­land branches. The em­ploy­ees who are on strike were also re­strained from em­bark­ing on acts of vi­o­lence or in­tim­i­da­tion against non-strik­ing em­ploy­ees of the bank.

The cer­tifi­cate of ur­gency saw the mat­ter be­ing in court for not less than an hour and the Bank’s Head of Hu­man Re­sources Mzwandile Ma­gag­ula said the re­spon­dents had now be­gun to com­mit acts of strike mis­con­duct and in par­tic­u­lar, to ob­struct the en­trance to the ap­pli­cant’s busi­ness premises. They had also be­gun to be dis­rup­tive and rude to mem­bers of the pub­lic wish­ing to utilise bank­ing ser­vices.

“In the or­di­nary course, the cus­tomers who fre­quently make use of the bulk de­posit fa­cil­ity are those cus­tomers which re­tail busi­ness, who must de­posit their daily tak­ings. It is there­fore, im­per­a­tive that these cus­tomers be pro­tected from the re­spon­dents, through the in­ter­dict,” he said.

He said the cur­rent picket ac­tion was be­ing car­ried out in an un­law­ful and ir­reg­u­lar man­ner.

“The ap­pli­cant has al­ways been pre­pared to meet and ne­go­ti­ate with the re­spon­dent on the suit­able picket area but in the in­ter­ven­ing pe­riod, re­quires that re­spon­dents be con­fined to an area of any least twenty me­tres from the en­trance of each of the branches,” he said.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was ac­com­pa­nied by hard copies of the pic­tures taken at the branches, show­ing the pick­et­ing em­ploy­ees block­ing the en­trance. The judge said the court would make a rul­ing on Mon­day af­ter go­ing through the heads of ar­gu­ments that were pre­sented by the at­tor­neys.

The Ned­bank staff filled the streets dur­ing their protest in Manzini.

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