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Feb 10, 2014

Solidarity, SAAT 'unfair race practices' case progressing

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Photo: Duane Daws
Engineering|System|Appeal Court|Dirk Groenewald
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South African Airways Technical (SAAT) on Monday settled with regard to one of trade union Solidarity’s three members involved in the union’s court case against SAAT concerning “unfair race practices”, Solidarity Centre for Fair Labour Practices head Dirk Groenewald told Engineering News Online.

In 2011, Solidarity referred the case of unfair discrimination on the grounds of race to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on behalf of the three members, after which the CCMA referred the case to the Labour Court in 2012.

Groenewald explained that the facts in the SAAT case were virtually identical to those in the Renate Barnard affirmative action lawsuit, in which the Appeal Court found that the mechanical implementation of race targets amounted to an unlawful quota system.

“As in the Barnard case, [at SAAT] posts have been reserved for black candidates despite the fact that white candidates have applied and have been found suitable for the advertised posts.

“Three white men, members of Solidarity and who are acting in the positions, have been overlooked for permanent appointment, simply because of the colour of their skin. Moreover, there haven’t been suitable black candidates to fill the positions. The candidates have been openly told that, although they were competent to be appointed in the positions, a decision had been taken to reserve the posts,” Solidarity said.

Groenwald said following Monday’s proceedings, one of the members would be appointed with retrospective effect, from April 1, 2011, and compensated accordingly by SAAT, while the case of the other two members would proceed on Tuesday.

Edited by: Tracy Hancock
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