“We have seen a bloodbath,” a Pretoria-based dispute resolution organisation said of the large scale dismissals during the nation Covid-19 lockdown, reports Rekord Centurion.
According to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), there has been an influx of applications for dismissals in this period.
“A large number of applications was made by small and medium businesses affected by the lockdown regulations,” said CCMA director Cameron Sello Morajane.
He said small businesses, which are the biggest producers of employment and contributed towards reducing the unemployment rate in SA, were closing.
“When these businesses close, our unemployment rate will start to soar,” said Morajane.
Morajane said the CCMA had received numerous applications for large-scale dismissals and referrals in terms of retrenchments during the lockdown period.
He said these dismissals were known as “no-fault dismissals”.
“Just purely on the lockdown process, we have experienced 17 referrals of large-scale dismissals, which is affecting 3,344 employees.
“We have also received 151 referrals for section 189 (A) applications which were not large-scale; however, 133 are employees retrenched which affected one employee.”
Morajane said in total they were experiencing 303 dismissals.
He said the CCMA had also noted that approximately 90,000 pilots worldwide would be without employment.
He said an example of this was the South African Airways (SAA) and Comair which were also currently suffering through business rescue.
“Hotels have been the hardest hit and they are experiencing the highest number of retrenchments.”
Morajane said the dismissal figures the CCMA currently had were not a true reflection of the actual dismissals that were happening in the labour market.
He said this was due to small-scale dismissals, which were not usually being reported as there was no referral for unfair dismissals, no request for the CCMA to intervene, or to try to assist to an extent that was possible.
“The numbers you see are directly affected by the fact that the CCMA offices were on level 5 lockdown,” Morajane said.
He said the CCMA had anticipated that the moment they opened their doors, more disputes and dismissals would be lodged with them.
“People do not want to use the online approach, they want to come into our offices and we have noted the numbers.
“I can say for certain that the moment we open our offices as we will be doing, we will be receiving huge numbers of dismissal disputes.”
Morajane said one of the trends that the CCMA had noted was the dismissal of domestic workers.
He said approximately 40,000 cases of domestic workers, of which some occurred before lockdown, were currently being disputed.
“As the CCMA we have requested our commissioners through the dispute resolution of the CCMA to intervene in resolving these disputes.”
Morajane said the CCMA had also noted that Sars was anticipating that they would suffer an R280-billion shortfall in terms of revenue collection.
“This is not just a mere shortfall, as this will have a direct impact on service delivery and for us to provide assistance to members of the public.”
Morajane said people could expect a new approach to business from the CCMA due to Covid-19, “which was expected to be with us for some time”.
He said commissioners would be required to travel to workplaces to resolve disputes and or become tech-savvy.
Morajane pleaded with businesses to deal with dismissals in a dignified manner.
“While we note that companies will close and some retrenchments will happen we ask companies to notify workers with dignity. When you are sitting at home and you get a WhatsApp alerting you that you will not be paid in two days, I do not think that is a dignified approach.”