Fundamental to any system of law design to promote collective bargaining is the right of employees to join unions of their choice and take part in their lawful activities. To dismiss an employee for joining or participating in the affairs of a union is therefore automatically unfair.
Does this mean that all employees are free to exercise these rights, irrespective of their position in the employer’s organisation? This question is particularly relevant to managerial employees. Problems will be created for an employer if a senior manager responsible, say, for representing the employer in collective bargaining, belongs to the trade union with which that manager bargains on behalf of the employer.
The Labour Court made it clear that if a manager places himself in a position where conflict between the interests of the employer and the interests of the union reach the point where the employee can no longer do his work, dismissal is at least an option.
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