COSATU calls for the reinstatement of four FNB employees dismissed for exercising their right to freedom of speech
28 August 2017
The Congress of South African Trade Unions condemns the unfair dismissal of four young FNB employees for allegedly making negative comments about the DA leader Mmusi Maimane. The federation calls on the bank to reconsider their decision to dismiss and reinstate them as soon as possible. No worker should be denied their right to earn a living because of some verbal infelicities. These workers have a constitutionally protected right to hold and express their views.
While all employers have a legitimate level of curiosity on what their employers do and say during working hours, we reject the idea that people should be punished for participating in national discourse ,even if they are using a flippant and jeering tone.
COSATU believes that the issues raised by these workers are legitimate and they should be part of the national discourse. The issue of economic transformation , in the banking sector in particular ,cannot be postponed indefinitely.
It not at all surprising for COSATU that FNB is so intolerant of differing views, especially anti DA views within their ranks. This after all is the organisation that was forced to apologise in 2013 for its campaign that featured a number of videos of children in school uniform reading their hopes for the country. This campaign was nothing but a deliberate attack on the ANC.
The First National Bank has been pandering to opposition party politics for some time ;and the federation believes that it is about time the bank is given the same reciprocal response that is preserved for political parties. If they want to enter the political arena they need to be treated like a political party. The bank should ask itself why workers should continue to bank with a bank that has adopted an anti worker position and that supports opposition politics.
Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokespersson, COSATU 28 August 2017