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Undertaking strike action is one thing. Bringing weapons to that strike is entirely another. 

Carrying a weapon during a strike action at your work premises could potentially be a fireable offence. A recent court case, Pailpac (Pty) Ltd v De Beer N.O and Others, confirmed that employees can be dismissed for having dangerous weapons during a strike and on company property. However, as Nicol Myburgh, Head: CRS Technologies HCM Business Unit, points out, it does increase the chance of a dismissal outcome if employees are made aware of the fact that they cannot bring weapons to work.

“Employees should be informed that they are not allowed to carry dangerous items into the office,” he adds. “The company’s rules must be published on a company notice board to ensure that all employees are reasonably aware of what is and is not allowed.”

For Myburgh, carrying weapons on the company’s property is very likely to be a fireable offence. It puts people in danger and can potentially introduce risk to other employees and the business. However, carrying weapons outside the business is murkier, as there’s not a lot of clarity around whether or not a person would be allowed to carry a weapon if they were outside of the office.

“It could be argued that

the person felt threatened by other employees, or wanted to ensure that they were protected during a strike action,” says Myburgh. “If somebody has a baseball bat or a sjambok but they are not on company premises, it does raise interesting questions.”

This can potentially open up a grey area for business and employee alike. If employees are asked to come in to work during strike action and they feel threatened by those on strike, are they at risk of losing their jobs because they took a weapon to defend themselves as they entered and left the offices? Does this fall under occupational health and safety?

“The reality is that the company has to take reasonable care to keep its employees safe, so if an employee is put in an awkward position where they can’t protect themselves, the onus is on the company to do so,” concludes Myburgh. “However, if a person brings a weapon to work and is on the premises and is threatening in its use or presence, then this is an entirely different ball game. And yes, it would be a fireable offense.”

ENDS

About CRS

CRS Technologies is a leading provider of solutions and services to the growing human capital management industry.

Following its establishment in 1985, the Johannesburg-based company quickly found its niche in the HR, people management and payroll sector and soon matured into the specialist of choice for blue chip organisations and SMMEs throughout Africa.

Today CRS is acknowledged as the most proficient HR and payroll solutions company on the continent, underpinned by solutions and services that help create workplaces of inspired, engaged and rewarded employees. Our approach to market is about maximising value between employer and employee, integrated with innovative technology that unlocks human potential and grows businesses.

CRS achieves competitive advantage through its commitment to global best practice in HCM and its drive to transform HR departments into strategic, value-added business units, be it through bespoke software and services or shared industry insight.

For more info, go to www.crs.co.za