csir nasa

Photo: @JuSayJoe77 / TW

Watch: Unionists in heated confrontation with CSIR management [video]

The matter between NASA and the CSIR has been bubbling for at least two months.

csir nasa

Photo: @JuSayJoe77 / TW

Tensions were palpable at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) headquarters in Pretoria, on Tuesday. Leaders of the National Association of South African Workers’ Union (NASA) picketed at the entrance of the building demanding an appearance from the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thulani Dlamini.

Watch: NASA leader loses it in confrontation with CSIR leadership

The matter between NASA and the CSIR has been bubbling for at least two months. In December 2019, the scientific research company issued a statement, noting that workers represented by the trade union had gone on strike “as a result of an impasse.”

CSIR spokesperson, Tendani Tsedu revealed that the protests were fueled by a trade union that is forcing itself “to be recognised as the official employee union within the organisation.”

“To date, NASA Workers confirmed membership amongst CSIR employees is for 41 staff members only. This is insignificant and not sufficiently representative of the CSIR staff complement of approximately 2300 employees, to warrant any formal recognition consideration,” Tsedu explained.

A little more than a month later, NASA leaders were recorded picketing at the company’s headquarters. In the footage, one of the members, identified in leaked security comms as Mpho Morolane, was seen tearing up a notice from the company which laid out an ultimatum for the protesting workers.

Things soon escalated into a full-blown confrontation when another leader from the CSIR was verbally attacked by the trade unionists, in front of the police who stood by watching.

The police officers refused to escort the group out of the building and the video cuts off in the midst of the heated confrontation.

In the statement released by CSIR in December 2019, Tsedu had explained that the protest action led by NASA was, in the eyes of the law, deemed as an illegal gathering.

“According to section 189A(7) of the Labour Relations Act, no party may go on strike or lock-out until the end of the 60-day period of consultation, which only commenced on 26 November 2019 {with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration),” he said.

Regardless, NASA workers have vowed to continue with their protest. The scientific research company has accepted this. However, they have made it clear that those who participate in illegal gathering will sacrifice their wages.

“The CSIR recognises and respects the rights of any employee who wishes to participate in the strike, but a no-work-no-pay principle will be applied,” the statement read.