The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw), on behalf of the employees, claimed the dismissals were unfair, and were prompted by legitimate union activities.
The board argued the employees were dismissed because of insubordination.
In 2008, the employees sent a letter to the board through their shop stewards raising concerns about the chief executive officer’s leadership.
Unsatisfied with the board’s response, they referred the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, but it was not resolved.
The employees then sent a petition to the board, making various allegations against the CEO.
They passed a vote of no confidence in the CEO and said unless they were included in the hiring process of the chief operating officer, they would not co-operate with the COO appointed.
The board warned if the petition were not withdrawn, it would institute disciplinary proceedings. Some employees refused to withdraw the petition.
The 10 who did not withdraw their names were fired.
The employees challenged their dismissals in the Labour Court.
The court found the right to freedom of expression did not allow the union and its members to commit acts that were grossly disrespectful and amounted to insubordination. It upheld the dismissals.
The employees were also unsuccessful in their appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.