An international security company, SG4, has been taken to court by 57 cash-in-transit guards who were fired for going on a wildcat strike two years ago.
They’re taking their former employer to court in an attempt to get their jobs back.
The guards, who were represented by the Motor Transport Workers’ Union (MTWU), are also demanding backdated wages going back to the date they were dismissed.
The guards, most of whom are still unemployed, were fired in February 2009 for embarking on an illegal strike during work hours. They were protesting against what they referred as ‘unlawful torture of guards’.
They claimed SG4 would torture guards who were involved in packing the money into the vans before leaving their head office in Cleveland near Johannesburg and those driving it when cash-in-transit heists happened.
But the incident that drove them to down tools was that involving three guards who were allegedly tortured after the security company discovered they were not depositing all the money into ATMs.
It was alleged that instead of depositing R100000 into ATMs they would deposit R80000 and keep the rest for themselves. The trio was allegedly taken in for interrogation by a private security company hired by SG4 where they were allegedly tortured. One of them was released a day later and still works for the company, the other two were allegedly held and tortured for more than a week before they were fired. One of the guards died months later allegedly due to injuries sustained during the torture.
The union said it would fight the matter in court until its members were reinstated.
“We are saying the correct procedures were not followed when our members were dismissed. Members had valid reasons for going on strike,” said MTWU spokesperson Nketse Nkadimeng.
David Sehularo, one of the guards who were fired, said he was struggling to find work and believed that “SG4 had blacklisted them”.
“I have lost count of how many applications I have sent to different companies. Sometimes I even apply for a junior position hoping they would give me a job. I believe SG4 has blacklisted us because the majority of us are still sitting at home,” Sehularo said.
The case, which began last Monday at the Johannesburg Labour Court, could not be finalised on Friday because a key witness for the defence was absent.
She was apparently not feeling well so the matter had to be postponed to an unknown date.