Workers at water and sanitation construction company Daven Lottering Construction in Wolmaranstad in the North West, say they have been issued with termination letters.
The workers say they were first notified about the termination of the employment after the announcement of the initial national lockdown. However, Daven Lottering Construction says they were only contracted until the end of March and their termination is unrelated to COVID-19.
The company worked on a water and sanitation project at Lebaleng township’s Extensions 17 and 18 which is aimed at servicing over 3000 sites and employed more than 150 locals.
However, workers say they were told not to report for duty, just before the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. After the easing to level 4, some were reportedly notified that their contracts had expired.
A spokesperson for the workers Kamohelo Litheko says, ”After 21 days, on the 26th or 28th, we received the sms that told us to come on the 7th and take our documents, which were termination contracts. We are no longer working for Daven Lottering Construction, so we want to know what the main reason is and why we are out of work.”
Workers at a water and sanitation plant in Wolmaranstad fired:
Sanah Mapete 38, a mother of two, says after her contract ended, she is now unable to provide for her family.
“Since our contracts have been terminated during the lockdown, Daven has not given us money. So when I went to him to ask for my money, he said I should go and get it from Ramaphosa. So at the moment, I don’t have any income… we haven’t eaten anything, we don’t have food.”
Daven Lottering Construction’s Operations Manager Rhyn Van Rooyen, says as the project nears completion, fewer workers are needed. He says this group of employees, only had a contract until the end of March.
Van Rooyen says, “I would say that unfortunately the end of the contacts of the community were issued at the beginning of March and it coincided with the time od COVID-19. The company could not foresee the two coincide at the same time.”
The employer has refuted allegations that workers had not been paid what was due to them.
Currently, about 50 workers are still on-site, as the project is due to be completed at the end of July.
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Meanwhile, employees at Barberton mines in Mpumalanga have been gathering at the mine entrance since Tuesday demanding their salaries.
Most of employees say they have not been paid and are currently at home due to the mine scaling down because of the lockdown regulations, they have threatened to close down the mine.
The employees include those from Consort, Fairview and Sheba mine, all under Barberton mines, the company employs about 2000 workers.
Some of the employees claim to have not been paid at all while others claim they have received little money.
However, the Barberton Mines says they have made an application for Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), and are still waiting for the funds.
Barberton Mines Martin Pietersen says the employees will be paid from the 1st of June. He says labour unions have been informed.
Pietersen says, “We have made additional financial assistance available for the employees that are worse affected. Another issue that we made available was food parcels. About two to three weeks ago we gave out food parcels to further alleviate the negative impact of COVID-19. Now that we are moving to level three of lockdown as a company we can confirm that all employees will be paid as from the 1st of June 2020.”