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Transnet breached collective bargaining agreements with its employees when it sought to compel all of them to take leave in December, the Labour Court has ruled.

Transnet’s unilateral implementation of 13 days of forced leave to coincide with a low operational requirement period was at odds with its collective bargaining agreement, the Labour Court ruled in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Last November Transnet told employees to take 13 days leave in December, a move that was challenged by the United National Transport Union (Untu) at the Labour Court. The court referred the union to the bargaining council. In May, a bargaining council arbitrator found the Transnet leave policy in breach of its collective agreement with the union.

Transnet challenged this decision in the Labour Court.

On Wednesday the Labour Court upheld the bargaining council decision.

Judge Christina Prinsloo ruled that Transnet establish a task team made up of an equal number of union representatives and the company. The task team would establish how to compensate employees who were affected by the compulsory leave taken in 2015, according to the judgment.

Transnet spokesman Molatwane Likhethe on Friday said the transport and logistics company was still studying the judgment and its implications.

But Untu said on Friday Transnet had indicated to the union that it might still appeal against the Labour Court judgment, while the union said Transnet had told employees it would not force them to take leave in December.

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