Laid-off Game employees await severance

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Johannesburg – Massmart employees who were made redundant in June have lamented the delay in paying their severance pay.

Massmart, owner of Game and Builders Warehouse, has launched layoffs following the implementation of a turnaround in its activity in January 2020 to return to profitability. A fired Game employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Massmart fired employees without benefits, including severance pay.

“Massmart also refuses to send exit packs to dismissed employees to receive their contingency funds. Old Mutual and Sanlam both confirmed that Massmart did not send any documents for the dismissed employees, ”he said.

Massmart spokesperson Brian Leroni said he is working to ensure he diligently fulfills his legal obligation to pay for packages in full and as quickly as possible.

“In a process of this nature, there are sometimes exceptional circumstances in which administrative delays unfortunately occur. Our approach is to diligently resolve these issues as soon as we become aware of them. So it’s really hard to comment when you have no idea of ​​the specific case, ”he said.

According to Leroni, it should also be noted that there are instances where employees have been offered alternative positions that they have not filled due to advice provided by the South African Trade Union of Commercial Workers, catering and related sectors (SACCAWU).

Leroni said SACCAWU advised them not to fill the positions offered.

“In these cases, because alternative positions have been offered, the termination packages are not payable. We find that, despite our best efforts, this is not always fully appreciated by the staff concerned, which appears to be the result of conflicting and inaccurate advice they have received, ”he said. In a damning decision, labor court judge Graham Moshoana in June concluded that SACCAWU had not acted in the best interests of its members to avoid their dismissal.

According to the court, the company offered to integrate employees into the new Game store model and deploy them to comparable vacancies within the group in order to limit job losses.

The new store model included the reduction of working hours from 45 to 40 hours. The game proposed to map the employees within a radius of 50 km around the place of residence – 6,177 employees were mapped, of which 5,533 employees succeeded in securing their position.

The court said the remaining employees were offered positions and the SACCAWU ordered to refuse, prompting Game to issue a termination notice under Section 189A of the Labor Relations Act. . The court concluded that Game had the right to fire employees who refused to accept the positions. The tribunal found that the advice given to the members was wrong.

“If this had not been removed, the employees would still be employed and would retain their much cherished job security. Properly defined, it was treacherous and treacherous advice beyond measure, ”the court said.

However, Khulekani Ngubane, head of the SACCAWU national organizing campaigns collective bargaining unit, complained about the demotion of employees and said that when the union disagreed with the company, its members were “slaughtered. “. Ngubane said the company imposed a downward variation in terms of employment, which means redeploying employees to lower positions at reduced terms associated with wages.

“We want our comrades to be reinstated without their conditions of employment being hindered. They are dealing with us like a tip of the iceberg, flouting the labor laws of the country creating America’s labor laws, ”he said.

However, Leroni said a facilitation process led by the Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CCMA) with Saccawu is underway to improve relations.

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