Solidarity taking NWU to court over new insurance scheme

Solidary says the scheme will charge employees a higher premium while offering fewer benefits.

Trade union Solidarity announced on Monday that it will file an urgent application against North-West University (NWU) in the Labour Court to prevent changes to employees’ salary agreements.

Solidarity says that, On 24 July, the university informed its employees by letter that they would be placed on a new “group life insurance scheme” from 1 August, and that this scheme would replace the current scheme set out in their original employment agreement. 

The new scheme, however, is offered at a higher premium and provides fewer benefits than the previous scheme. The higher premium of the new life insurance scheme is deducted directly from an employee’s salary.

“This decision by the NWU, which has a direct impact on the personal finances of every employee, was taken unilaterally and no proper consultation process was followed involving employees or their representatives,” said Anton van der Bijl, head of labour law services at Solidarity. “The outcome of this is that employees suddenly are beneficiaries of a new life insurance scheme, but they now have to pay more for less cover. This action by the NWU is nothing less than a violation of the rights of NWU employees.”

Solidarity will argue that such changes, introduced without an agreement between the employee and the employer, are unlawful.