Non-renewal Of Contracts Vs Dismissal/discharge - CiteHR
Harsh Shukla
Ceo And Md Of 3 Uk Based Mnc's

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]I need help regarding the selection criteria which must be used in determining which employees need to stay and which to leave; which needs to be fair. We are a small contractor working under coal mining in South Africa, total employees is 31 people, and we have employee representatives consisting of 6 people.

The former contractor with its earth moving machinery has left, causing our labour needs to decrease. All the employees had 3 month fixed term contracts which ended 28 June 2013. So we still have all employees, have not dismissed any as yet, and we have made them aware that their contracts might or might not be renewed - letters have been given. But there are a few troublesome employees, so I would like to know if issues such as ill health, absenteeism etc. can be used as fair grounds for dismissal? The main reason for the ‘dismissals’ is the change in operational requirements. I do not know if 'dismissal' is the correct word as they are no longer contracted under us, but still working for us.

I read as well that I will need to meet with the worker’s representatives in trying to find a way to minimise the number of employees being dismissed, but as I stated this month of July 2013 has been added in trying to change the timing of the dismissal. What is the next step to take?

And just to confirm, in the issue of severance pay or notice pay, we do not have to pay that out because they have not been employed by the company for more than a year?

Please kindly assist.

Hi Marcia,
First of all I am NOT an expert on Employment Laws of South Africa.
However, a worldwide principle is that it is not unreasonable to terminate employment because of business requirements.
One should not use excuses such as ill-health etc., that can lead to other more serious problems.
I suggest you take advice from an employment law specialist in your area.
Sorry, I cannot help further.
Regards,
Harsh

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