South Africa is one of few countries that provide protection to workers, job seekers and employees, to such an extent that it is codified in legislation. For instance, who of you have not sat through at least one American Television sit-com where workers are willy-nilly dismissed, with as little as three words – You are Dismissed – without any recourse?
With the current stressful and dire times we experience in South Africa, a time marked with retrenchments, short-time, temporary lay-offs, salary reductions and the like, I again have to debate the privilege of having fair labour practices underwritten by legislation.
Did we as South Africans become so relaxed in the knowledge of labour protection and job seekers and employees’ rights, that we do not play our part anymore?
Not my Job Description
MISA did advise in an article posted last year, that in terms of the MIBCO Main Collective Agreement, you may be entitled to a higher wage for the time spent on a higher grade function. In short, in the absence of such an Agreement, will it be wise to refuse alternative duties?
We have become so accustomed to our ‘job description’ and have created a mental border from which we do not easily stray. A different perspective might change the future, for instance, if you can relieve someone in their position, is this not an opportunity to learn a new skill? I am not referring to abuse by employers where you are constantly required to perform duties, outside of your job-functions, without compensation.
Most employers are downscaling, restructuring their businesses and as a result embarking on retrenchments. The most common and default criteria is LIFO (Last in first out) but it is certainly no longer the only criteria. One of the most common agreed criteria that employers are looking for, is skill retentions! Let’s think outside the box, what if the additional skill or skills you have acquired will be the determining factor in whether you will be retained or retrenched?
Skills are defined as ‘an ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job functions involving ideas (cognitive skills), things (technical skills), and/or people (interpersonal skills)’.
During the retrenchment process, it might be that employees are required to apply for their own position or to apply for other available positions as alternatives to retrenchments. The process in essence refers to skill retention or ‘necessary skills’. The Labour Court in a dispute relating to an Information Technology (IT) business, Clive Niaker vs Q Data Consulting (2002, 23 ILJ 730) accepted this process, as it acknowledged the necessity of retaining the employees with the most appropriate and up to date skills in the IT Industry.
Expand your thinking
It is critical at this day and age that we as employees be vigilant in acquiring skills and in showing interest in all aspects of the work environment. You might never know when newly acquired skills and experience might be the determining factor in preventing retrenchment.
MISA – Just a phone call or an e-mail away!
Kindly utilise the following e-mail addresses and links for assistance during this time:
Employer UIF/TERS Submissions UIFClaim@ms.org.za
Legal/Labour-related enquiries Legal@ms.org.za
* Legal Reception 0114763920
MISA Benefit claim-related enquiries Claims@misa.org.za
Any other enquiries Info@ms.org.za
Mobile App https://onelink.to/w9a7ku