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GM Five Lobatse sheds staff amid COVID-19

Matshidiso Masire
GM Five, the company that belonged to the late president Sir Ketumile Masire in Lobatse is terminating its workers effective today, a move that contravenes the no firing policy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“As previously communicated on several occasions during meetings held with staff, the company is having cash flow and production challenges and has been running at a loss for the past year necessitating some form of restructuring in an attempt to rectify the situation. Effective April 30, 2020, GM Five Company Maradu Farm in Lobatse will close down. The closedown affects all employees at the two farms. The layoff is not related to individual performances,” daughter to the late president, Matshidiso Masire wrote to staff on behalf of the company.

She also said the staff would receive their full and final terminal benefits on April 30. “Your payment will include notice of pay, leave pay out and gratuity. You are required to present yourself at the farm the morning of April 30 to hand in your uniforms as well as any company

property in your possession and sign your terminal letter.”  Efforts to reach GM Five management were futile.

Earlier this month, the Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Mpho Balopi warned businesses that have ignored government pronouncements on staff welfare during the State of Emergency and lockdown.  This came in the wake of reports that some companies have dismissed or retrenched staff, while others have assumed a ‘no work, no pay’ stance for the 28-day coronavirus lockdown period despite government unveiling wage subsidies, loan guarantees and tax concessions worth up to P3 billion to beat the effects of the pandemic.

Balopi had said putting workers on unpaid leave, immediate suspensions without pay, and retrenchment as the first course of action has no place in the spirit of how “we are to collectively manage our businesses and social security considerations”.




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