Retrenchment can happen to anyone, anytime but as an employee you have rights. Your employer must follow correct legal procedure when it comes to retrenchments, and if they don’t, you can strike back.
Retrenchments are called no-fault dismissals; this is because it is not your fault as an employee, that you are being retrenched or dismissed. The reasons for being retrenched are usually economic, which means that the company you are working at can no longer afford to keep paying you. Sometimes the reasons are technological; this means that the company you are working for has a machine that can do your job, so there is no longer a need for you to work there.
It is always advisable to call Scorpion as soon as you hear that you are being retrenched, as employers often use ‘retrenchment’ as a way to fire you for another reason. This must be investigated to ensure it doesn’t happen.
Did you know?
There are two types of retrenchments, large-scale and small-scale. They both have their own procedures to be followed, so contact Scorpion for more information on the differences.
With both small- and large-scale retrenchments, your employer must invite you, or your union, or your work forum to consult in writing, and give you all the relevant information needed. During this consultation you or your union/work forum can:
- Give alternatives to being retrenched
- Talk about ways of minimizing the number of employees being retrenched
- Suggest a change in the timing of the retrenchment
- Propose a method of choosing who gets retrenched
- Agree on severance (you are entitled to at least one week’s pay for every year completed at your company)
Thereafter you or your union/work forum must come to an agreement with your employer on these elements. If no agreement is reached, the employer must use criteria that is fair and objective.
To learn more about this topic watch the video interview with Sharusha Moodley.
Note: This is a very basic outline; please contact Scorpion Legal Protection for more details on this topic.