Picture: REUTERS/PAULO WHITAKER
Picture: REUTERS/PAULO WHITAKER

After running a service station for 35 years I decided last year that it was time for me to put my feet up.

Because I was mindful of the future of my staff, who had provided me with very long service, the sale agreement contained the clause that is in the Labour Relations Act stipulating that the staff may not have less favourable working conditions under the new owner than previously.

In addition, I obtained a personal commitment from the new owner that he would not "reinvent the wheel", given that staff members were of a high calibre, gave excellent service and were appreciated by the customers, as evidenced by the enormous tips they garnered.

Sadly, the new owner slashed their hours, cut bonuses, removed overtime and stopped perks such as the laundry of overalls.

Clearly the person does not share Virgin boss Richard Branson’s view about looking after the staff, who will in turn look after the customer; and it is heartbreaking to see their monthly take-home pay drop by R3,000/month.

It is puzzling why the union, which took dues from the staff every week, has done absolutely nothing to get redress for them.

As a white man I had to sell to a BEE candidate and, sadly, it’s my former black staff who are getting shortchanged.

Our working relationship was very peaceful, to the point that when I decided to sell I had to draw up employment contracts, which up to then were not needed since ethical management prevailed.

Tony BallGillitts, KwaZulu Natal

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