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Counting the cost of cutting jobs

| Economic factors

The slogan “Imagine life without Rainbow Chicken” could soon be a reality for its KwaZulu-Natal employees who are facing retrenchment at the end of the month.

RCL Foods, which owns Rainbow Chicken, in Hammarsdale offered its permanent staff a voluntary package or for them to re-apply for their jobs with an option to relocate to other branches in the country.

This has affected casual workers employed by labour broker Capacity which, workers claimed, was cutting staff.

A team from sister publication Sunday Tribune, visited Hammarsdale this week to assess the workers’ mood and how the job losses would affect the community.

Many have jobs and did not want to go on record but said they were angry and afraid.

A team leader who had been at Rainbow for more than 10 years blamed poor consultation. He said it was using dumped chicken as an excuse to get rid of the workers at a time of high unemployment. He was considering early retirement but this would have serious financial ramifications for his family.

A father of 3-year-old twin boys said the company held a series of meetings with staff, and he received his retrenchment letter in December.

The poultry-man, 48, buried his face in his hands as he spoke, saying he was thinking deeply about his next move.

“It is not fair after having served the company for 29 years that I find myself in this predicament. Where would I find employment at my age? I also have an extended family of eight to feed and clothe.”

He said the retrenchment package of R100 000 offered was not enough to pay for their daughter’s tertiary studies.

Sunday Tribune

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