The workers were informed last week that their last day at Simba will be
this Sunday, 10 September. They have informed CWAO that Simba intends to
lay off a total of 150 workers.
Most of these workers have been employed at Simba's Isando plant for up
to three years each. They were originally placed there through a labour
broker, but after three months they became deemed employees of Simba.
Simba is well aware that under the Labour Relations Act amendments of
2015, labour broker workers automatically become permanent employees of
the client company (Simba) after 3 months of employment.
Deemed workers cannot be summarily dismissed for no reason. Simba must
have a fair reason for dismissal related to their conduct or capacity
(in which case it must charge them and hold a fair hearing), or Simba’s
genuine operational requirements (in which case it must consult with the
workers in terms of s189 of the LRA).
Simba has deliberately broken the law by continuing to treat its deemed
employees as though they belong to the labour broker, Workforce Staffing
Pty Ltd, even though these workers are not temporary replacements for
permanent workers who are on leave, or performing a temporary service
(that is, placed at Simba for less than 3 months).
Last week, 150 workers were told by Workforce to come in and sign a
'Separation Agreement' or not bother to come back to work at all. Only
52 went and signed the agreement on the spot because they were
threatened with never getting work from the labour broker again. The
rest of the workers were told verbally that there was a new labour
broker at Simba and there was no more work for them.
The workers were also intimidated and threatened not to tell anyone that
they had been fired, or else the labour broker would never find them
work again at any other employer. In other words, in addition to the
flagrant disregard for their LRA right to fair dismissal, their
Constitutional right to freedom of expression was removed by Workforce
Staffing Pty Ltd.
The CWAO has written letters to both Simba and Workforce Staffing Pty
Ltd and they have not replied. The workers will lodge a case of unfair
dismissal at the CCMA.
For comment: CWAO Organiser Jacob Potlaki on 082 810 6134
Category: PRESS RELEASE | DISPUTES