Court orders striking Nedbank employees to move away from bank entrance
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.