Four of the five employees Setshwano Kebue, Botlhale Moalafi, Mokaedi Makholo and Lotshwao Ramasonya were awarded a combined P27,000.00 in addition to the money they were paid when they were retrenched in June 2016.
Odirile Rantsie was removed from the claim, as he was not part of the mediation process. Kago Mokotedi represented the employees while Gerty-Anne Venter represented their former employer.
On April 18, 2016, DWD called a staff meeting where employees were told that the company had formed an intention to terminate certain contracts of employment by reason of redundancy.
Kebue, who testified on behalf of the Applicants, told the court that the meeting lasted approximately five minutes and there was never any written letters informing them of the intention to retrench.
The former employees submitted that in the aforesaid circumstances the termination of their contracts of employment by reason of redundancy was unfair.
They asked for a compensation award equivalent to 12 months salary.Venter told the court that she would not bring any witnesses. She said they released applicants before the month was over on the basis that they wanted the applicants to have time to look for alternative employment.
Delivering judgement, Justice Harold Ruhukya said there was no doubt that the company failed to follow the steps laid out in section 25(2) of the Employment Act CAP 47:01. Ruhukya read out the steps including informing the Commissioner of Labour in writing; writing to each employee about intentions to retrench; consulting employees on a way to avoid retrenchment; and a fair procedure in compliance with the Employment Act if a decision to retrench is taken.
“The Respondent failed to do so rendering the retrenchment unfair. Considering all things including the guiding principles of Section 27(4) a- g the Applicants are each awarded three months’ salary, such compensation to be reduced by the amount paid to them as notice pay,” he said. The employees are to be paid on or before November 30.