Retrenchments: Losing your job is NOT your fault!

June 1 was a painful day for more than 100 workers at Femco in Brits. The company which made lawnmower and swimming pool motors finally closed its doors after years of battling to keep the business going.

At a meeting of the workers to discuss the closure, workers shared their anger and frustration over the demise of the company. Already on layoff, the strain of no income was already showing on the faces of the packed meeting hall. From old to young, man to woman, the pain affected them equally.

Industrial psychologist, Fiona Donald, says that retrenchment is a “huge trauma for people, especially if there are few other opportunities.” But those that are retrenched should remind themselves that “it was not through any fault of their own.” says Donald.

Ukulahlekelwa umsebenzi wakho akusilo iphutha lakho! Abasebenzi ezweni lonke balahlekelwa yimisebenzi. Ukulahlekelwa umsebenzi wakho akusilo iphutha lakho. Kuyiphutha lohlelo lwezomnotho olungenagugu ngabasebenzi okuyibona abenza izimpahla zalo.

Ungayithwali wedwa le nkinga! Ixoxe nomndeni wakho. Khulumani ngokuthi izimpilo zenu ningaziguqula kanjani ukuze nikwazi ukumelana nalesi sehlo esiniphethe kabi ezimpilweni zenu.

Khuluma nezingane kanye nomlingani wakho ukuthi ningayonga kanjani imali. Yenzani ibhajethi yanyanga zonke ukuze nizobona ukuthi ningazehlisa kanjani izindleko.

Thintana nabanye abasebenzi abalahlekelwa umsebenzi wabo kanye nawe. Sibhalele usitshele ukuthi uyonga kanjani imali futhi ubhekana kanjani nobuhlungu bengcindezi yokudilizwa.

Dit is NIE jou fout as jy jou werk verloor nie! Werkers regoor die land verloor hulle werk. Dit is nie jou skuld as jy jou werk verloor nie. Dit is die skuld van “˜n ekonomiese stelsel wat nie die werkers wat sy goedere vervaardig, waardeer nie. Moenie alleen met die probleem sit nie! Deel dit met jou familie. Bespreek hoe julle almal julle lewens kan aanpas om hierdie traumatise gebeurtenis in jou lewe te hanteer.

Bespreek met jou kinders en jou lewensmaat hoe julle geld kan spaar. Stel “˜n maandelikse begroting op en kyk hoe julle julle uitgawes kan verminder.

Bly in kontak met ander werkers wat saam met jou hulle werk verloor het. Skryf aan ons en vertel ons hoe jy geld spaar en hoe jy die stres van afdanking hanteer.

Ho lahlehelwa ke mosebetsi HA SE molato wa hao! Basebetsi lefatsheng ka bophara ba ntse ba lahlehelwa ke mesebetsi ya bona. Ho lahlehelwa ke mosebetsi ha se molato wa hao. Ke molato wa mokgwatshebetso wa ikonomi o sa nkeleng hodimo basebetsi ba o etsetsang dihlahiswa.

O se ke wa rwala bothata bona o le mong! Tsebisa ba lelapa. Buisanang ka mokgwa oo le ka lokisang maphelo a lona hore a kgone ho shebana le ketsahalo ena e tshabehang bophelong ba lona.

Buisana le bana ba hao le molekane wa hao ka mokgwa oo le ka bolokang tjhelete ka ona. Ngolang bajete ya kgwedi le kgwedi le bone ka moo le ka fokotsang ditshenyehelo tsa lona.

Dula o ntse o iteanya le basebetsi ba bang ba lahlehetsweng ke mosebetsi mmoho le wena. Re ngolle o re tsebise ka moo o bolokang tjhelete ka teng mme o kgonang le ho shebana le kgatello e moyeng e bakwang ke ho fokotswa mosebetsing.

Donald says that often people that have been retrenched go through various stages emotionally. “Initially there is shock, often denial and often blame and anger directed at the company, or the managers, or their colleagues.” Eventually workers come to accept their situation.

When workers were retrenched at Ford in the late 1990s, workers found it difficult. Wives felt let down by their husbands whom they felt should be breadwinners. But when the man could no longer bring home the bread, often divorces followed.

If you have lost your job, remember this. You are not stupid. You lost your job because the company you worked for could no longer succeed in its business. Losing your job is not your fault. It is the fault of an economic system that does not value the workers that make its goods.

Do not carry the problem alone! Share it with your family. Discuss how you can all adjust your lives to cope with this traumatic event in your life. Discuss with your children and your partner how you can save money. Draw up a monthly budget and see how you can reduce your expenditure.

Keep in contact with other workers that lost their jobs with you. Share your ideas, write and tell us how you are saving money and coping with the stresses of retrenchment.

I am a single mother with two children. How am I going to cope?

Femco workers share their anger and their pain

How can you prepare for retrenchment?

The money you will get:

Your provident fund:Every year you should get a Benefit Statement saying how much money you will receive from your provident fund if you are retrenched. BUT you may not get this amount:

If you have borrowed money from the bank using your provident fund as collateral, then the bank will take what you still owe them from your provident fund. Look on your latest housing loan statement from the bank to see how much you owe. The bank will take this amount as well as some finance/administration charges.
AND the tax man also wants money from your provident fund. It will tax your employer’s contributions to your provident fund.

UIFOn your payslip you should see that you have been paying to UIF – the government’s unemployment insurance fund. Once you are retrenched, you can apply for unemployment benefits.

You will receive one day’s benefit for every completed six days of employment as a contributor in the four year period before you became unemployed.

If your wage was very low you will receive about 60% of your pay for a maximum of just over four months. If you are a high earner, you will receive about 40% of your pay for a maximum of just over four months.

Severance payRemember that in terms of the law, your company must give you 1 week’s pay per year of service. Sometimes the union manages to negotiate more than this.

Notice pay, leave payYour company must pay any outstanding monies owing to you like notice pay or leave pay.

—————————————————–How to cut back on your expenses

1. Apply to continue to belong to the Numsa funeral fund for a low-cost funeral fundAs a Numsa member you automatically belong to Numsa’s funeral fund. Once you lose your job, you can still remain a member of this Fund as long as you apply within 30 days of losing your jobs. If you have been a member of Numsa for more than two years, you can apply for associate membership. Apply at your nearest Numsa office. If Numsa agrees, you will have to pay R3,70 per month to the funeral fund. Get details from your nearest Numsa office.

2. Approach the school your children attend to see if it can reduce your school fees or exempt you from paying

If you are paying school fees at a government school by instalment and your conditions worsen during the year [eg you are retrenched and you have no income] the law says that you can apply to be exempted from paying school fees. [NB – you will NOT be reimbursed with the fees that you have already paid] If you are fostering a child, you don’t have to pay school fees.

3. Loans/ instalment sales agreements/housing loans/accounts

If you have loans, instalment sales agreements [hire purchase agreements], clothing accounts which you have to pay every month, go straight away to the company/shop/microlender. Explain that you have lost your job and that you cannot pay the next month. Try and negotiate to reschedule the payments – they might exempt you from paying for a few months by letting you extend the length of time that you will pay the goods off.

Remember that:

if you don’t talk to the business where you have an instalment sales agreement for the lounge suite that you have bought and you don’t pay, the company can repossess the goods and you will be left with nothing. Even if they repossess the goods, you might still have to continue paying money. For example, you still owe the shop R800 for the lounge suite. The shop repossesses and sells it an auction. Someone buys it for R500. You will still have to pay the shop R300.
If you don’t tell the company where you have an account that you have lost your job and you can’t pay, they can send you a summons to appear in court. Rather go and talk to the shop before you get a summons.

4. Draw up a monthly budget

Write up the money that you spend every month. Distinguish between monies that you have to pay and monies that are not essential. Try and get your family to discuss how they can save money.



Essential items

Non-essential items

5. Approach your local councilThe law says that if you are unemployed, you can apply to the council for free basic services. Take them all the details to prove that you are unemployed.

6. Register at your local department of labour officeThe department of labour says that it is keeping a register of all workers that are unemployed. It will use this register to supply employers and public works programmes with a list of workers that are unemployed. It will also use this list when it is looking for workers to be trained. Make sure your name is entered onto their list. Give them your CV – give them details of all the kinds of jobs you have had and the skills that you have learnt on the job.

Corporate greed – the cancer that eats the flesh of workersYingwani Mashaba

Unemployment statistics are shocking while those who survive the double-edged sword of retrenchment remain uncertain of their future.

But some Numsa locals are trying to limit the pain of retrenchment. Innocent Ndiki, a shop steward in Numsa’s Bellville local says that they “are discouraging overtime in their factories. We also make sure that if there are any vacancies in our immediate companies, that ex-workers are given first preference.”

Ndiki also says that his local has started a relief fund to help former colleagues who want to start self-help projects. In Mpumalanga, shop steward Lazarus Thaka, says that his local has also started a fund. “It is mainly channelled to fight poverty and distribute food parcels and clothes to the needy. It is also used for the payment of school fees for those that cannot afford to pay as well as helping out those who cannot afford to bury their loved ones.”

Thaka wants employers to “assist ex-colleagues who were in the company’s employ to fund them to acquire much needed skills to enable them to get employed in other industrial sectors.” He also says that they push their employer to include retrenched workers in learnership programmes. Nelspruit local organiser, Enoch Nhlapo urges the labour movement to keep a constant watch on the corporate greed of companies so as to protect and advance worker gains.

“It’s a cancer which is eating the flesh of the labour force,” he warned.