CCMA scrambling to prevent retrenchments amid jobs bloodbath

 (Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius)
(Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius)

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration said in its annual report for the 2018/19 financial year that it was working with various organisations under government to stem what it called a continued massive loss of jobs due to retrenchments.

In the annual report, the CCMA said it had managed to prevent 15 787 retrenchments out of a possible 38 588 during the 2018/19 financial year. Still, unemployment remains stubbornly high at 29% - having climbed to its highest level in more than a decade in the second quarter - with companies continuing to announce plans to retrench.

The commitment to protecting South Africans from the risks that come with exposure to unemployment seems to be in beat with Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi's remarks in July during his budget vote. Nxesi said his department would leverage the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Fund as agents in job preservation and skills development for the unemployed.

The CCMA said it conducted 529 large-scale retrenchment or Section 189A facilitation processes, involving 38 588 employees, who were facing potential retrenchment in the effort to contribute to the alleviating unemployment, poverty and inequality.

"Of these 38 588 employees facing retrenchment, 15 787 (41%) were saved, while the rest were either retrenched (14 917, equating 39%), opted for voluntary retrenchment (6 474, equating 17%) or had their matters concluded in an alternative way (1 410 equating three percent (3%)," the report said.

Intensifying efforts

The annual report said the CCMA would continue to support the labour market through partnerships with other institutions. The commission planned to do this by offering support and survival mechanisms to retrenched employees.

The annual report said of the 38 588 employees who were the subjects of Section 189A, large-scale retrenchment referrals, actual retrenchments were recorded at 21 391.

"The CCMA intensified its job saving efforts by ensuring that strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders such as Productivity SA are maintained, to ensure that support to businesses in distress is provided and options explored to avoid job losses," the report said.

The annual report said CCMA will intensify its "pre- and post retrenchment" monitoring activities, to identify new opportunities and explore opportunities with institutions which have experience in re-skilling.

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