• Trouble on the shop floor

      Jordaan, Barney; Cillié, Gawie (2020)
      This case emanates from an MBA technical report submitted to the University of Stellenbosch Business School. The case is based on actual events that transpired at a company in the fruit industry in South Africa in 2015, which involved a breakdown in wage negotiations between the company and a trade union that resulted in violent industrial action that caused major damage to company property and to what had been a fairly good working relationship between the company and the union. The case is suitable for general use in other countries with a tradition of collective bargaining and where freedom of association and the right to strike exists. The case is suitable for students at honours or masters level in conflict studies, dispute resolution, employment relations, human resource management and negotiation. A violent strike erupted after failed wage negotiations. It laid bare deep divisions between African and non-African employees and between permanent employees and those appointed as temporary employees only. It also revealed the mindsets of people on both sides of the conflict, as well as several errors made by management in the manner in which they viewed the role of the union and failed to build strong relations with employees on the shop floor. Students will be able to: - Critique the approach to collective bargaining of both the company and the union in the case and suggest alternative approaches. - Identify the steps the company could take to both deal with the aftermath of the strike and develop preventive measures for the future. - Advise the company on a series of questions it needs advice on. The case is supported with a teaching note, discussion questions and suggested responses to those as well as verbatim transcripts from interviews conducted with managers and others for purposes of a research project after the strike had ended. The case contains important lessons about the complexities of managing employment relations in complex environments.