De heus fires over 80 employees over Covid-19 tests

Maklera Magazine Reporter

Klerksdorp – There has been a series of complaints from employees across private and public sectors, in connection with employers not willing to follow the guidelines to protect their staff against the scourge of Covid-19.

These complaints vary from lack of transparency by employers who hide information on staff members who tested positive for coronavirus, failure to be responsive to cases and the inability to put in place the necessary measures to flatten the curve in the work environment.

De Heus company in Uraniaville, which produces animal feed, has fired over 80 employees, after a request by the employees to get tested.

This happened after a female colleague tested positive last week Wednesday, a confirmation she made to her colleagues via a whatsapp voice note. In the voice note “she announces the results of her tests as being positive and she will remain home”.

On Thursday of 09 July, employees who work day shift, refused to go to their work stations, amidst a request for screening and testing which seemingly went to the deaf ears of the employer.

Strangely one employee, who was in close contact with the colleague who was taken for testing as proven by an email sent to the employees.

The employees who work closely with the said female says, “He is targeted for a work incident that is unrelated to Covid-19, in that when he went to work on Thursday, for his night shift, he was counted amongst the fired staff who had been on strike over a request to test for Covid-19.

One of our sources says, “he then asked for the procedure of health and safety in order to respond to the request” of tests and screening,.together with his colleagues.

This was followed by what is described as a rather degoratory answer from the branch manager.

An employee who asked to remain anonymous says this led to an exchange of words between him and the management after a dispute concerning his duties that occurred before, has been dragged into the Covid-19 matter, the manager accused the employees of jumping on the Covid-19 band wagon and yet, they are unable reciprocate the same posture in their duties.

De Hues has since issued an ultimatum letter to the employees which stated that they should get back to work or face the consequences of expulsion, in the letter which apparently comes from the company’s head office in Durban, the management says it has put systems in place to combat Covid-19 within the work environment.

The fired staff members have slammed the letter, alleging that “De Heus Management does not treat the Covid-19 as a matter of life and death, and they are left stranded because they are not allowed to subscribe to a union.

We don’t not have a union representative here, because they don’t want to allow it, if you raise this matter you are dealt with and fired! they said!”.

It is apparent that the management of De Heus has been ignoring emails of Saccawu for the past three months, the disgruntled employees say they have been fired for a simple request… and that is to test for Covid-19.

We wanted to get tested in order to avoid infecting one another, our families and other members of the public, what’s even more infuriating is there is a clinic in this company but they are failing to utilize it“.

When we spoke to the employees on Tuesday, they told Maklera Magazine that the company has opted to use contracted employees from Work Force brokers, who don’t have the necessary skills to perform the duties required.

Earlier today, on Friday… one of the employees spoke to us telephonically, after being given an ultimatum to return to work after 15 hours or face expulsion, meanwhile the employees have visited the offices of Saccawu to get assistance.

“We contact De Heus to to hear their side of the story, we told that management is in a meeting and our details were taken and a promise to forward them to the relevant personnel to respond to us”.

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