South Africa: Security guards 'fired for joining union

Nine airport security guards have been left jobless after their employer fired them, for allegedly joining a union and enquiring about their provident funds.

About 50 more security guards belonging to the Abanqobi Workers Union fear that they may soon be jobless.

Kya Guard, a security company that has been contracted by Air Chefs at OR Tambo International Airport since June last year, dismissed the workers without any written confirmation, the workers said.

Richard Manganyi said he and three of his colleagues were the first victims when they were hauled into the office by human resources head Nomonde Mdindi on February 3 and ordered not to come back to the site again as they were not needed anymore.

"She told us that she didn't want us because we joined a union and that the client had also recommended that we be removed as it didn't want us. We asked her to give us written confirmation of our dismissal but she refused," said Manganyi.

The Air Chefs security guards were transferred to the company by PLC Security in June last year after its contract ended.

Emalia Ubisi said their scuffle with the security company started when they lobbied the union to probe their monthly contributions towards provident and unemployment funds.

"When we went to the Legal Provident Fund and Unemployment Insurance Fund, we found that there were no records of our contributions," said Ubisi.

Ubisi said their names were still reflected under PLC Security and there was no record of their contributions. Mdindi claimed she didn't know the dismissed workers and that the company had not dismissed any workers for joining a union.

When asked about the provident fund contributions, Mdindi hung up and follow-up calls went unanswered. Sowetan is in possession of monthly pay slips of at least 17 security guards employed by Kya Guard which reflect monthly provident fund deductions and UIF contributions.

Abanqobi's Thobela Nonkonyane said the union has taken the company to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

"This is unacceptable, you cannot dismiss people for exercising their right to join a union and for asking questions about their money," said Nonkonyane.

The CCMA hearing is scheduled for March 11.

Nonkonyane said the union was also alerted that the company was also employing foreign nationals who had no proper documentation or permits from the Private Security Regulatory Authority.

South Africa 5374411107973547741

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