Today's Labour News

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ConCourtFin24 reports that Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) has won an appeal in the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in a case involving the retrenchment of nearly 400 employees.

In 2016, the Competition Tribunal approved the merger of several Coca-Cola bottlers, which resulted in the creation of CCBA. Conditions attached to the merger included maintaining a certain number of employees from the pre-merger operations and prohibiting merger-related retrenchments. There was, however, an allowance for retrenchments required by the ordinary course of business. A further merger at holding company level was approved in 2017. But, things then took a turn for the worse as economic conditions deteriorated and sales volumes were adversely affected. Coca-Cola wrote to the Competition Commission in January 2019 informing it of the challenges faced and warning that retrenchments for operational requirements might be required. CCBA also told the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), and the National Union of Food, Beverage, Wine, Spirits and Allied Workers (NUFBWSAW) that it may have to retrench workers. FAWU filed a complaint with the commission alleging a breach of merger conditions. At the end of May 2019, 368 workers were involuntary retrenched, while a "considerable number" opted for voluntary retrenchment. The matter was brought to the tribunal, which found that CCBA had complied with the merger conditions. But, the Competition Appeal Court then overturned the tribunal’s finding. CCBA then approached the ConCourt to appeal the ruling. "The Competition Appeal Court mischaracterised the nature of the appeal and applied the wrong tests in respect of both review and causation. There was no basis in law or fact for overturning the judgment of the tribunal. The appeal therefore succeeds," the ConCourt ruled.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard compiled by Ahmed Areff at Fin24

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