Case Number: PSES CAR Patience WC
Province: Western Cape
Applicant: A P PATIENCE
Respondent: WESTERN CAPE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
Issue: Unfair Dismissal - Constructive Dismissal
Venue: CAPE TOWN
Award Date: 29 May 1998
EDUCATION LABOUR RELATIONS COUNCIL
CASE NUMBER : PSES CAR Patience WC
In the arbitration between
A P PATIENCE APPLICANT
WESTERN CAPE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT RESPONDENT
1 . THE HEARING
1.1 The arbitration hearing was held in Cape Town on 11May 1998 in accordance with comprehensive med-arb terms of reference agreement between the Education Labour Relations Council, the Western Cape Education Department, the South African Democratic Teachers Union and the Cape Professional Teachers Association.
1.2 The grievant was not represented at the hearing. The WCED was represented by Mr Ishgaak Matthews.
1.3 This issue in dispute related to the grievant’s contention that he had been prejudiced by the Department’s failure to deal with his application for promotion timeously.
1.4 The parties discussed the dispute informally in an attempt to mediate the matter in accordance with the terms of reference. When it became apparent that a settlement of the dispute would not be forthcoming, a non-settlement certificate was duly completed and the matter resumed as an expedited arbitration in terms of the collective agreement.
2 . FACTS OF THE DISPUTE
2.1 Mr Patience made an application for a position as the Head of Department (HOD) at Roodezandt Secondary School in Saron at the end of 1994.
2.2 The governing body, without conducting any interviews, nominated Mr Patience for the job and sought ratification of the appointment form the WCED.
2.3 The WCED was not satisfied with the procedures which the governing structure of the school had followed in nominating Mr Patience and duly referred the entire matter back to the Roodezandt governing structure with the instruction that the process be repeated and done correctly.
2.4 The WCED did not communicate with Mr Patience and he was left in the dark in regard to the ratification of his appointment.
2.5 After some time Mr Patience made enquiries in regard to his application with the Principal of the School. He was then informed as to what had transpired and was furthermore told that the governing structure had decided to withdraw the advertisement and not to make any appointment whatsoever. This latter decision was apparently motivated by a dispute which had arisen between the governing body and an applicant for one of the other jobs which had been advertised at the school.
2.6 Mr Patience testified that he had gone to Saron, which is a country town, because he hoped that this would assist him in his career by obtaining easy promotions. He testified that when his promotional opportunities in Saron came to nought he decided to move to the city. He then arranged for a swop and duly commenced employment in Cape Town at the beginning of 1996 at the Valpark Primary. Shortly after arriving in Cape Town Mr Patience became ill and frequently consulted a psychologist. The commencement of this medical condition pre-dates his initial application for promotion at the Roodezandt Secondary School.
2.7 In approximately June of 1996 Mr Patience applied for a voluntary severance package. He also produced a doctor’s report which recommended that he as not suitable for teaching.
2.8 Mr Patience was granted the voluntary severance arrangement and he duly left the service of the WCED on 30 September 1996.
2.9 Shortly after leaving the service i.e. 15 November 1996 the WCED advised Mr Patience that he had been appointed as the Head of Department at Saron. Clearly the division dealing with his promotion did not know that he had left the WCED. It is a case of “the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing”.
2.10 Mr Patience contends that this is an unfair labour practice and that the bureaucratic delays and other administrative irregularities had prejudiced him. Mr Patience sought the payment of substantial compensation and had initiated legal action wherein he claimed in excess of two million rand.
3 . DISCUSSION
In my view there is ample evidence to show that the WCED’s administrative dealings in this matter leave much to be desired. Accordingly to the psychologist’s report the condition which Mr Patience suffered arose prior to his applying for the position at Saron. It is this condition which rendered him, according to the report, unsuitable for teaching. His application for a severance package also does not appear to have been motivated by the administrative failures on the part of the WCED. What relief could he possibly have obtained if the appointment had taken place whilst he was still in the employ of the WCED and shortly before applying for the voluntary severance package? In my view no relief at all.
4 . FINDING
I accordingly conclude that Mr Patience had not established a case for an unfair labour practice.
L N VAN ZYL
Date : 29 May 1998
EDUCATION LABOUR RELATIONS COUNCIL
CASE NUMBER PSES CAR Patience WC
APPLICANT A P PATIENCE
RESPONDENT WESTERN CAPE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
ARBITRATOR L N VAN ZYL
DATE OF ARBITRATION 11 MAY 1998
VENUE CAPE TOWN
RESPONDENT MR ISHGAAK MATTHEWS
Mr Patience had not established a case for an unfair labour practice.
DATE OF AWARD 29 MAY 1998