25 August 2023
Stealing is stealing, even if it is a coffee mug
You cannot take the Dealer Principal's (DP's) coffee mug out of his car, without asking, and keep it indefinitely or until you are caught two weeks later.
If you do, the excuse that you were borrowing the mug because yours was leaking won't fly.
This is exactly what happened to *Innocent, a MISA member, who was caught red handed with the mug he removed from the DP's car.
Tiekie Mocke, Manager of MISA's Legal Department, says Innocent was dismissed on 18 July 2023, for theft in that he stole the DP's coffee mug whilst washing the DP's car.
"The said mug was found in his possession some two weeks later, whilst drinking coffee from it.”
"Innocent admitted to taking the mug out of the DP's car and was adamant that he had no intention to steal the DP's mug. He insisted that he was going to return the mug after he had replaced his own leaking mug," says Mocke.
According to Mocke there is an increase in dishonesty and fraud related incidents amongst members.
"Times are tough and MISA's members are feeling the credit pinch. In some cases there is a deliberate intent to defraud, but in most cases, like with Innocent, members are ignorant and foolishly act before they think.”
According to Mocke, the Employer could even open a criminal case of theft against Innocent if he wanted to.
In terms of MISA's by-laws, the Union may refuse to render legal services to any member if MISA is of the opinion that the member has no reasonable prospects of succeeding with the dispute, case, or claim against the Employer.
If the member already instituted proceedings, MISA will use its unfettered discretion to decide if the Union will assist the member.
Martlé Keyter, MISA’s Chief Executive Officer: Operations, says this may sound like a very harsh viewpoint, but this cuts to the core of the Union’s values.
“MISA stands for ethical behaviour and the truth. The Union cannot condone dishonesty, theft, fraud or corruption. It puts the job security of all employees at risk.
“MISA realises everyone makes mistakes, we do not judge, but clinically assess the conduct and circumstances of each matter. Regardless of how difficult your circumstances might be, you can never justify stealing from your Employer. That is a deliberate decision. You deliberately decide to harm your Employer,” says Keyter.
MISA’s values and ethical conduct distinguishes the Union from the general perceptions of trade unions amongst the broader public.
“This has been MISA’s saving grace in South Africa, where trade union membership is declining at an alarming rate, currently standing at only 23% of the workforce.
“MISA more than doubled its membership over the past decade and continues to grow by providing members with excellent advice and assistance through its Legal Department and Training Department, while ensuring that members enjoy value for money.
“MISA offers its members a vast variety of financial benefits unique to the Union and tailored to suit the needs of the retail motor industry,” says Keyter.
* Innocent is not the name of the member. MISA keeps the names of members confidential.
Issued on behalf of MISA by Sonja Carstens, Manager of MISA’s Media & Communication Department.
For MISA Press Releases, phone Carstens on 082 463 6806 or email Sonja.Carstens@ms.org.za
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