Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act (No.66 of 1995) regulates the process to be followed when an employer considers retrenchment. Subsection 3 deals specifically with the notice an employee should receive at the beginning of such a process. The further subsections, a to j, specifically stipulates what is to be included in the notice. The employer may provide more information in the notice than listed in those subsections, but these are the minimum that must be included.
The employer must discuss the following:
a) The reason for the proposed retrenchments
b) The alternatives considered by the employer to avoid the proposed retrenchments, and the reasons why these were rejected
c) The number of employees possible affected and the categories in which they are appointed
d) The proposed method of selection to decide which employees will be retrenched
e) The time when of the period in which the retrenchment will most likely take place
f) The proposed severance package
g) Any assistance the employer can offer employees that will possibly be retrenched
h) The possibility of rehiring any employee who may be retrenched, in the future
i) The number of employees currently in service of the employer
j) The number of employees that was retrenched in the previous 12 months
The employer must provide then notice to all employees that may be affected by the retrenchment. There are two reasons for issuing the notice. Firstly, it is to notify employees of the proposed retrenchment and to invite them to consult. Secondly, it is necessary for the employer to comply with the statutory requirements and to provide the necessary information to employees so that they can prepare thoroughly to participate in the consultation process. Everything in the notice should be consulted about and the parties must attempt to reach consensus on all points.
As soon as you receive a section 189(3) notice, you are requested to phone Solidarity so that we can advise you regarding the matter at hand.