Retrenchment is a reality and many people have experienced retrenchment in their working lives. Retrenchments will continue to happen especially when there is a downturn in the economy. The Labour Relations Amendment Act has introduced stricter terms when it comes to retrenchments and employers need to consider retrenchments carefully, especially looking at other ways of avoiding retrenchment.
Employees who face retrenchment or their representatives can take an employer to the CCMA and say the employer did not try and find other alternatives to stop the retrenchments.
Employers should consider the following 10 alternatives to avoid or reduce retrenchments
1. Find ways to increase productivity;
2. Reduce costs and expenditure;
3. Increase or decrease shifts and length of shifts;
4. Decrease the number of contractors or casual labourers. Use employees to do the work the contractors or casual labourers do;
5. Implement a skills development programme to help employees move into different positions;
6. Stop overtime or Sunday work;
7. Cut down wages on agreement with staff members;
8. Offer early retirement or schemes;
9. Do not employ new employees for that time; or
10. Reduce workforce by way of natural turnover. For example, do not replace staff when they leave through resignation, dismissal, retirement or any other form of termination.