Find out how retrenchment differs from any other type of dismissal

Simangele Mzizi, Fsp Business, 01 Aug. 2014

Tags: retrenchments, how retrenchments differ from other dismissal, dismissal

There have been two major strikes this year.

The first one is the Amcu strike in the mining sector which lasted for five months. The second one which ended this week is the Numsa led strike in the metals and engineering sector.

Both these crippling strikes have led experts to believe retrenchments are on the cards as companies are now restructuring so they can be profitable again.

These looming job cuts have raised questions about the retrenchments in South Africa. One question that keeps cropping up is: Is a retrenchment like any other type of dismissal or are there differences?

If you want to know the answer too, read on to find out how retrenchments differ from any other type of dismissal so you can retrench properly.

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Here’s how retrenchment differs from any other any other type of dismissal

At a basic level a retrenchment is just like any other dismissal, say the experts behind the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

You must have a fair and valid (i.e. good) reason to retrench and you must follow a fair procedure (Section 188 of the Labour Relations Act). If you get both right, your retrenchment will be substantively and procedurally fair.

But if you get either one or both wrong, then you’ll be at risk.

The employees you’ve retrenched can take you to the CCMA or the Labour Court. You could be ordered to take them back (reinstate them), with or without back pay, or to pay them compensation (Section 193 of the LRA).

Retrenchments differ from other types of dismissal when it comes to the procedure you must follow before you retrench

When it comes to retrenchments, you don’t hold a disciplinary hearing or a counselling session – you follow a process of consultation.

Consultation is the discussion with the potential retrenches (employees that you’ll be retrenching) or their representatives on the proposed retrenchments. You must work together to attempt to reach consensus.

Just remember that following a proper consultation process won’t help you if you don’t have a good reason to retrench. So, always start with the reason and make sure it’s fair and valid.

Now that you know how retrenchment differs from any other any other dismissal, make sure you retrench properly. We recommend you check out the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service to find out more information about retrenchments because this isn’t a straightforward process – one wrong move could land you at the CCMA or the Labour Court.

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