Friday, 25 May 2007


Demands - A list of demands were submitted to Vodacom on the 27 March
2007,in particular a wage dispute and to date the company has not
responded to the union. The union requested a meeting with the company and
now over 30 days have lapsed without a response. On the 15 May 2007 the
union filed a wage dispute to the CCMA.

Audit - As you aware of the dispute between Vodacom and CWU about
organisational rights. The department of Communications decided they
should intervene as an independent body. Parties present took a decision
that an audit should be conducted to determine the numbers of permanent
employee at Vodacom against the number of registered CWU members. An
independent auditor has been appointed by the department and two
representatives from either party will form part of the audit team. The
first phase has already been completed and the second phase of the audit
is under way.

Vodafone - The CEO of Vodafone wrote a letter to Union Network International (UNI) and
gave misguiding information about the current situation affecting workers
in South Africa. This will highlight either how little they know about
workers struggle within Vodacom South Africa or it is a deliberate action to pretend as
if nothing wrong is happening in this country.
Read the response from CWU:

CWU recognition – by the joint Venture Company, Vodacom (Pty) Ltd

Dear, Fackson

The letter (from Arun Sarin addressed to Phillip Jennings) dated 30th
April 2007 is devoid of truth and misleading

Let me take the liberty of correcting distortions contained in the
aforementioned letter and other related matters.

1) Although, parties (Communication Workers Union, Vodacom and Department
of Communication) have agreed to cede all communication rights pertaining
the forensic audit – conducted by Gobodo Forensic and Investigative
Accounting (Pty) Ltd, that does not take away our rights to defend the
image of the organisation when called upon.

2) The agreed upon terms of reference indicates that the auditing process
will be guided by the following phases, namely:
Phase 1, start up phase: collect and collate relevant information
pertaining to the membership of CWU at Vodacom
Phase 2, physical counting of CWU members in all Vodacom SA premises
Phase 3, conducting of formal interviews with people who were not
appearing on the documents provided by either parties during phase one
Phase 4, report writing

3) According to our official records – Minutes of the Introductory
Meeting, dated the Friday, 13th April 2007, auditors have not yet
completed the task given. Perhaps, Vodafone will have to furnish Union
Network International with the supporting documentation to their

4) The meeting of the 13th April 2007 – facilitated by Grant Buchler
(forensic auditor) and attended by Janomi Boyce, Claire Lapham [Vodacom
delegation], Mike Gwamanda and Aubrey Tshabalala [CWU delegation] agreed
on particular process (as supported by the terms of reference) and the
tentative dates for the second round. Therefore, paragraph 2 ("this audit
was completed on April 13th and we are now waiting for the results") is
devoid of truth and misleading.

5) Its encouraging to hear that Vodacom subscribes to the principle of the
freedom of association - that is enshrined in the Supreme Law of the
Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996. But, the Managing Director,
Shameel Joosub is on record expressing his displeasure about the
increasing number of union members at Vodacom (Minutes dated 10th August
2006, page 3). The unilateral cancellation of CWU stop orders and dual
deduction of union fees, particularly employees migrating from the Union
of Media Workers of South Africa joining CWU, confirms the strategy and
the delaying tactics meted against CWU. Secondly, in his letter dated 1st
April 2007, page 3, addressed to the Miss L Ndlovu: the Executive Director
Human Resource Executive, he insist on the minimization of the union
membership to 10% and pleads with her to promote the effectiveness of the
Consultative Committee funded by the company and chaired by him (with veto

6) The aforementioned rights (par 4) can only be limited by a competent
court of law (e.g. Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa)
and Vodacom (Pty) Ltd has no jurisdiction - in limitation of the basic
rights as enshrined in the Supreme law of our country

7) The South African Labour Court still has to pronounce itself on the
violations of the workers rights as per the Labour Relations Act – this
matter has been delayed unnecessarily by the Judge of the labour Court.
For the benefits of Vodafone it might be proper to give correct sequence
of events:
· 12th March 07: Vodacom obtained an interim interdict against the
industrial action
· 19th March 07: after a lengthy argument presented by the
applicant (Vodacom) and the respondent (CWU) the judge requested for more
time. The matter was postponed for the 16th April 07
· 16th April 07: unfortunately the matter was not on the records of
the day, and the judge deferred the matter for the 14th May 07. We hope
and pray that this matter will be put to rest so that parties are able to
determine the path going forward – because justice delayed is justice
denied. This delay does not auger well to the entire membership (and other
members of the federation, the Congress of the South African Trade
Unions). Consultation with other government structures (preferably the
Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional
Developments) can not be ruled out

8) The victimization of the CWU members at Vodacom has been a daily
practice – we are not surprised by the distortion of facts by the
management of the joint venture company.

CWU is registered with the South African Department of Labour and we
always make it a point that our operations are in line with the statute of
the country and other international conventions. We strongly believe that
the Information and Technology Industry is one of the key drivers of the
economy. The South African regulatory framework does acknowledge the role
of Foreign Investment in order to unlock full the capabilities of this
industry, whilst fulfilling the National Objectives. And Vodacom is
playing a significant role in bridging the digital divide and the creation
of descent and sustainable jobs. Therefore, there is a need for strong
stakeholder relations in the industry. Our call for the promotion of the
principle of collectivism and the recognition of the collective bargaining
agent should not be perceived negatively.

CCMA-Our comrade Nwabisa was unfairly dismissed by Vodacom, the case was
heard at CCMA and the arbitrator indeed agreed that the dismissal was
unfair. The company has decided that the arbitrator was not in his right
mind and have filed to the labour court with an intention to have the
decision reviewed. As we know that the same has happened with another
comrade from Midrand Clermy where the company doesn't want to accept

The company must not be allowed to set precedence in applying undemocratic
principals at the expense of a worker.

An injury to one, is an injury to all

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