Retrenched Lobels employees cry foul
A GROUP of 28 retrenched Lobels Biscuits workers have written to the ministry of labour claiming victimisation.
The group claims that they were retrenched after they requested to be paid in accordance with National Employment Council’s (NEC) collective bargaining agreement.
The group, which was retrenched with effect from June 1 this year, alleges that the company has already recruited replacements.
“We have been unlawfully retrenched without following the procedures of retrenchment in terms of section 12C of Labour relations Act, without a valid reason…the company has already recruited 28 people to replace us. This misbehavior by top management is resultant from the request by workers to be paid salaries in accordance with NEC as prescribed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” the retrenched workers said in a letter to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
Representatives of the retrenched group told The Financial Gazette that a notice of retrenchment was sent to only the employees who were involved in a dispute with management over wages.
The retrenched workers who requested anonymity said the NEC was arbitrating the conflict over wages when they got notice of their retrenchment.
“…be advised that three months’ notice is being served on you as you will be retrenched. You will not work your notice and your last working day will be May 31, 2018,” read the retrenchment notice seen by this publication.
Efforts to obtain a comment from Lobels biscuits were fruitless as top management kept referring this publication to Andrew Dinhidza who declined to make a comment. Dinhidza is the company’s Human Resources manager.
Following the retrenchment notice, the group lobbied a complaint with the NEC. Representatives of the retrenched workers said management failed to attend a NEC hearing on the matter last week. The NEC consequently gave the management a seven day ultimatum to make a submission answering to the allegations of unlawful retrenchment.
The retrenched workers representative said the ministry says it will consider Lobels Biscuits management’s submission to the NEC before making any resolutions on the matter.
In the letter to the ministry, the retrenched workers also allege that management had also been deducting monies from employees’ salaries to make contributions to a union unknown to the workers, and without the consent of the workers.