Detawu Press 17th April 2018



DETAWU has noted with disgust the intimidating tactics and threats to our members at Imperial Cargo following their participation in a protected march. The march was organised by South African Federation of Trade Unions ( Saftu) which is our mother body on the 12th April 2018 to parliament.

Subsequent to the march, 14 of our members were abruptly suspended on the 13th March 2018, initially without any charges. After we had written to the company demanding that they must give reasons of the suspensions they were then issued with their charges which are:

A) Participation in an unprotected march/strike on the 12 April 2018, alternatively refusing a legal and reasonable instruction.

B) Breaking the trust relationship between employer and employee.

Our members were charged despite the Federation’s compliance with s77 of the LRA, and despite the letter sent to the company (by the union, Detawu) prior the date of the march indicating and explaining the nature of the march. This is a clear disregard of the protection conferred upon employees who participate in a protest action that complies with the provisions of the Act. It is also clear that Imperial Cargo is not prepared to adhere to the rights neither prepared to respect the rights of the workers under their employment.

We are very much outraged and disgusted by the apartheid tactics of employers threatening workers with disciplinary action when they have exercised the right/s conferred to them by the law. However, it seems to be the modus operandi of Imperial to disregard the laws of this country. It would be remembered that not long ago the High Court in Johannesburg on the 23rd March 2018 has found that their Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mark Lamberti- impaired the dignity of an employee through discriminatory utterances. He then saw it fit to resign as a board member of Eskom after the judgement, but chose not to resign from Imperial Cargo which in our view signifies that he knows that at Eskom discriminatory practices are not accepted, but at Imperial such is condoned. What a hypocrite!

We have also learnt that he has resigned as the Board Chairperson of the BLSA, as a result of his discriminatory utterances and we therefore call upon himself to do the same hounarable thing at Imperial and resign as the CEO as he has done at Eskom and BLSA. It is time for such employers to know and accept that South Africa and or workers of the country in particular no longer have a space for such racist and discriminatory attitude.

As the organisation we will do whatever it takes to confront the employers who through draconian practices undermine workers and seek to supress them from exercising their rights. We also believe that our members have done nothing wrong, and they have embarked on a protected strike. It is clear that the company was threatened by the turn out of workers to the march and is also threatened by the Union and Saftu in particular that is taking the struggle of workers without any fear or favour. It is clear that Saftu is a threat to all the employers who were on cruse mode butchering workers daily without protection by their unions and or Federation.

We thus call on Imperial Cargo to desist from intimidating and threatening our members by disciplinary action for exercising their constitutional rights and uplift the suspensions of our members and withdraw the charges preferred against them. Failure to comply will leave the organisation with no choice but organise a mass action directed at Imperial and further expose their uncanny practices that are at variance with the law.

Statement issued by the DETAWU’s Deputy General Secretary Nontembeko Luzipo.

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