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The Constitutional Court held in Food & Allied Workers Union V Ngcobo N.O (CCT50/13) that a union does not enjoy special protection from damages claims by members that it represents. The Food and Allied Workers' Union (FAWU) applied for leave to appeal a lower court judgment – upheld by the SCA – that awarded two FAWU members damages.
The damages claim arose when FAWU failed to represent the employees in an unfair dismissal dispute!
The court noted the union's argument had ‘constitutional colouring, but no constitutional substance’. Justice Cameron added: ‘it also misreads its own constitution… nothing in it suggests that a union may pursue its own interests with impunity when it has injured the interests of a member by failing to represent him or her properly’.

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