South Africa Records Increased Retrenchment Cases-CCMA Say More Coming

By  |  October 15, 2019

According to Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) annual 2019 report, the number of retrenchments increased for the year 2018/19 compared to the previous financial year.

CCMA has revealed it has received a total of 529 large-scale retrenchment Section 189A referrals in 2018/19, compared to 488 referrals received in the 2017/18 financial year, representing an 8.4 percent increase.

The sectors which were most affected with retrenchments were the Building and Construction (3584), Mining (3260) and Metal (1741).

CCMA has a job-saving strategy which involves facilitating consultations before proposed retrenchments, an initiative which has greatly reduced job losses over the years. For the year under review, CCMA facilitators in large-scale retrenchment processes ensured that 41 percent of jobs were saved (15 787), of all employees who were likely to be retrenched (38 588).

CCMA has attributed the success rate in mitigating job losses to ” innovative efforts of facilitators and parties in processes to seek meaningful alternatives to avoid job losses.”

When it comes to small-scale retrenchments, CCMA said, “Regrettably, the CCMA’s potential to save jobs in small-scale retrenchment processes is hamstrung by the fact that the CCMA only gets involved once the retrenchment process has already been initiated,” the CCMA said.

CCMA has said in the next financial year it intends to “intensify its pre – and post retrenchment monitoring activities, identify new opportunities brought about by the changing nature of work, and explore opportunities in association with relevant institutions for re-skilling.”

CCMA reiterated the need to involve multiple stakeholders to address threats to job security.

Retrenchments in SA in the second quarter of this year have shot up as data released by Statistics South Africa showed that the unemployment rate has increased by 1.4 percent to 29 percent, the highest level in 11 years.

Retrenchments taking place in the banking sector have been attributed to digitisation with technology taking up jobs initially done by humans.

Featured Image Courtesy: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

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