‘Job restructuring’ looms for chicken farm employees

2016-10-04 06:00

RAINBOW Chicken Farm employees throughout KZN are distressed by the news of looming retrenchments, which they claim, will have a detrimental impact on their lives.

According to reports, out of 500 workers on farms, the company intends to retrench around 300, of about 1 500 workers in processing, the company plans cut almost 900 and the three shifts the company has in processing is to be reduced to one shift.

Workers reported that even those who are close to retirement will, during this process, be have to reapply for a lower grade. Some claim they are sole breadwinners and are not sure how they will make ends meet if they are retrenched.

Others claim the company is acting unfairly as retrenchments are not taking place throughout the country, only in KZN

Other workers say the company is allegedly reopening farms in Rustenburg, but say they should instead salvage jobs in KZN.

A father of four from the Upper Highway area, who did not want to be named for fear of being victimised, said these retrenchments are unfair and the company is not acting in the best interest of its employees.

“Why are only farms in KZN being targeted - if this impacts the entire company then all farms should be affected.

“We also heard rumours of farms being reopened in Rustenburg. If this is true, this is unfair as they are destroying lives here, but creating jobs in other provinces.” He said the company needs to give employees answers.

Edwin Mkhize, Cosatu provincial secretary, said: “It is our view that retrenchment should be a last resort, and companies must feel obliged to prevent job loss and do all within its powers to protect workers from losing employment.

Miles Dally of RCL Foods, which owns Rainbow Chicken, said market conditions, which have deteriorated. “Our chicken business has operated on average at a loss for the past five years. Although we have implemented various corrective measures to return to profitability, the excessive increase, specifically in dumped commodity chicken over this period, has cancelled out the gains we have made in this space. Without immediate relief on the horizon we have to consider a restructure of the commodity chicken component of our business.

“We believe in treating our employees fairly and will therefore ensure that the consultation process is conducted in a transparent and considerate manner.”

When questioned about the rumours of older farms being reopened in other provinces, Daily said they are not releasing further details or comments at this stage as it is too early and the process of consultation with employees will be ongoing for some time.

“Our employees will be given the opportunity to table all their concerns during this process.”

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