It was not the outcome the National Petroleum (NP) Marketing Company Limited was hoping for as the Oil Field Workers Trade Union (OWTU) won its legal battle against the state owned company. The ruling was handed down by the court of appeal earlier this morning.
The case was two years in the making, with the court of appeal upholding the ruling of the Industrial Court over the firing of 68 NP employees two years ago. NP had terminated the employment of the workers after claiming that they had engaged in an illegal work stoppage in 2013. The OWTU had been fighting the dismissal of the employees, stating that it was unfair and not conducted in accordance with the principle of good industrial relations practices.
With the ruling now in their favour, the 68 workers will be returning to work next week Tuesday. NP was ordered to pay each worker $40,000 as compensation for the time that they had spent without work.
In a tough economic climate that has seen companies like Arcelormittal recently sending home more than 600 workers, after a wage dispute, it remains to be seen how this court victory for the union will affect the rest of the employees at NP.