Fawu Reneged on Its Duties to Members, Concourt Told Zz Breach of Contract, Say Pair

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BYLINE: Wiseman Khuzwayo

The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) did not act honestly and diligently towards two of its members, the Constitutional Court heard yesterday.

The two members have brought a civil claim against the union for damages arising from its failure to pursue their unfair dismissal claim timeously in the Labour Court.

Fawu had promised the two members that it would apply to the Labour Court for condonation for a late application, but then withdrew legal assistance because of a legal opinion.

Charmane Nel said the union had committed a breach of contract by terminating its mandate to provide legal representation for the two members.

She said the court should reject the submission that Fawu was entitled in terms of its constitution to withdraw legal services once it took the view it would not be in its interests to pursue the claim.

Fawu has applied for leave to appeal against the judgments of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which held that the union was in breach of contract with the two members.

In May 2002, the two members were dismissed by their employer. Fawu represented them in their unfair dismissal claim at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). …