With shock and dismay the Union learnt that, even now after 25 years into democratic dispensation we still notice behaviour that, when it comes to issues such securing a job career or outright job reservation in timely manner would not go away when employers such SISA engage in Section 189 consultation processes. This was evident throughout engagements since March 2020, as parties were called upon to consult on job threats in a company employing 9919 workforce across the country. Whilst cooperatives fall within enterprise and supplier development SISA management is vehemently opposed to handing over departments earmarked for outsourcing to worker cooperatives. They are equally opposed to using the training lay-off scheme as an alternative to retrenchment.
The quantum of ±3500 of jobs is said to be on the line, amid allegations ranging from effects o COVID-19 as and when it is convenient to claim so, to absolute unenthusiastic agenda and tact of capitalist class to bully Union members to embrace their malicious/cruel intentions of raising with impunity the already bloated figures of the army of those that are declared to form part of unemployment, which leads to the rising level of poverty and destitution. Irresponsible and racially motivated acts of dismissals as part of positioning the company for massive retrenchments can be traced back in the days of SISA’s somewhat strange relationship with the Gupta family. When our members and none unionised workers engaged in protest against Guptas who demonstrated racial tendencies towards workers, which resulted into dismissal of 14 shopstewards. That coupled with failure of the company to investigate allegations levelled against Guptas wedding entourage being accused of advancing acts of sexual harassment towards some female workers. These racism acts and failure of SISA to prevail include the fact that, Guptas brought with them chefs of their choice, whom were white, refusing any form of service to be rendered by Black South African workers, with those tasked to deliver anything to them having to do so at the door/doorway. SISA chose to be tight-lipped as and when such acts of racism were reported, instead spend thousands of rands even to the highest courts in ensuring that, the leadership of Company Council in that establishment is weakened by all means possible, thus, the 14 shopstewards were unfairly dismissed.
Ably assisted by intuitions of conflict resolution like CCMA, we had more than regulated session of consultation with SISA Management with them having presented wrong and flawed forms and that was coupled with headache we had to endure in their numbers changing daily, compelling every session facilitated by CCMA to be infertile to say the least, from which we thought we would find amicable resolution within the stipulated timelines of consultation.
- Even their suggested alternative in the form of both voluntary retrenchment (VR) and early retirement (ER) were just means to run through motions, raising of emotions /sentiments for they were not distanced to curb the number of affected employees, instead with desperation every head-count lifted a hand for either ER or VR was declared to be not the targeted group for Section 189 despite ;the commitment by the company that, as alternative to Retrenchment, were to attract those who feel they want walkout of the system on terms that are less Section 189 process.
Of concern now is the increasing numbers of those whose VR or ER applications are being turned down for the reason that of the colour of their skin under the guise of not being part of the target, skill retention and/or scarce skill; albeit not an attached condition or appearing nowhere in notices or communiqué’ related to VR or ER offering/advertising; and in some instances they be fortunate that, their salary band is so abnormally high. The vicissitudes of apartheid can be measured by the ratio of black income to white, then the question arises as to; can we in this day and age celebrate employers who would go to this extreme?
Issued by SACCAWU Media Unit
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Mike Michael Bonile Sikani: 0823368296
Lucas Ramatlhodi: 082 336 5325