NUMSA members were issued with final written warnings for wearing NUMSA t-shirts during working hours. The company relied on a rule prohibiting the wearing of t-shirts representing non recognised unions at the work place. The final written warnings were challenged on the basis that the rule was unreasonable. The Commissioner decided that the rule was aimed at the individual rather than the trade union and the rule deprived the individual from the right to wear a t-shirt expressing their allegiance to NUMSA.
There is no evidence to suggest that the wearing of the t-shirts would create an operational risk and found that there was no basis distinguishing between the unions recognised in the work place and those unions that were not. The final written warnings were therefore set aside.
It is our view that a different result would result if the employer is able to introduce evidence of previous union rivalry which resulted in violence or intimidation