Today is Freedom Day and also marks exactly a month since the beginning of the hard lockdown in South Africa to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The lockdown has not only impacted on our daily routine and social interactions, but it has also had a devastating effect on the South African economy. Unfortunately, the retail motor industry, has also been hard-hit.
No one, magic answer
We find ourselves in unprecedented times. There is no one, magic answer that we can give that will allow you to make sense of this seismic wave of uncertainty.
We are here to support you
As your union, we can, however, give you tools and advice to utilise when you are faced with uncomfortable decisions that need to be made in your workplace and assure you that MISA will be at your side to support you, every step of this uncertain journey.
Employers have a legal remedy to limit financial loss and economic hardship provided by the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA), section 189 and 189A.
This is not to say that an Employer has the liberty to unilaterally decide who will be retrenched or not. The LRA provides for a joint consensus seeking process.
Your relationship with your employer is of a contractual in nature – whether you have a verbal agreement or a written contract.
• The rights that you enjoy under your employment contract cannot be changed unilaterally.
• New or altered terms or conditions can only be introduced by way of negotiation.
• You have the right to your agreed remuneration including agreed benefits, such as a Provident Fund.
• For your salary to be altered or reduced and your Provident Fund contributions to be suspended, you must be consulted and you must agree prior effecting any changes.
You have a choice. But for you to make an informed decision, you must know the effect of the decision you are about to make. If you are unsure, please contact MISA at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can assist you in making the right decisions.
Consultation and Negotiation
You may be faced with difficult questions such as “do you agree to a reduction in salary?” or “are you in agreement that we suspend your Provident Fund contributions”.
These are questions that cannot be answered or even considered in isolation because the answer is very much dependent on the rationale and possible alternatives that should also be considered.
Before any changes or decisions can be made, negotiations to discuss the issue at hand must take place, with the aim of reaching an agreement.
Clarifying questions should be asked, such as:
• Why do you want me to consider the change to my contractual rights?
• Will the changes be indefinite?
• What will the outcome be if I do not agree?
• How secure is my position within the company?
• What alternatives were considered prior to confronting me with this decision?
You are not alone
MISA is your voice. We are not indifferent to the challenges that you, our member, will be facing in this very challenging economic setting. Contact MISA to assist you in making the right decisions.
How to contact MISA during the lockdown
Kindly utilise the following e-mail addresses and links for assistance during this time: