Employees say no to church body retrenchments

2012-07-05 22:15

Johannesburg - Provincial and national staff members of the SA Council of Churches (SACC) have rejected a mass retrenchment proposal by its national executive committee.

"There has been no consultation to date between the NEC and staff," Reverend Keith Vermeulen, director of the SACC's public policy liaison unit, said on Thursday.

"A mass retrenchment means that only the general secretary remains."

SACC staff in all nine provinces were issued with letters indicating the retrenchments would take place at the end of July.

Staff conferred on Wednesday and rejected the notices of retrenchment, resolving to be at their offices on 1 August.

"This is the second time this year that staff have received letters notifying them of retrenchment," the SACC staff said in a statement. The NEC had appointed a Change Management Committee (CMC) in 2010 to deal with restructuring.

In March this year, the CMC called a meeting with staff to explain the retrenchment process.

"The staff remains adamant that they will not entertain any decision from the NEC without prior meaningful consultation and engagement on arrear payments and/or their current and future roles in the organisation," the staff said.

"Furthermore, the failure of the SACC NEC... to consult the staff of the SACC is a symptom of individual interests, agendas and power struggles..."

The staff, many of them ordained clergy, say the retrenchments would have dire consequences for the SACC's relationships with international and local partners.

"Since the entire matter threatens to bring the SACC and its 26 member denominations into disrepute, [we want] the NEC to provide reasons... why we should not call on the leaders of the... SACC denominations to add their voices to our calls for the entire SACC NEC's immediate dismissal and resignation."

Rinel Hugo of the CMC could not immediately be reached for comment.