Former employees file labour dispute

Loriaan Croy shows Northern News her letter of termination.

Three former employees of a Scottsdene cleaning company have filed a labour dispute for unfair dismissal against their former boss, saying he treated them like garbage.

The former supervisors for Likhona Ithemba Trading in Scottsdene are taking Mpumelelo Mpengu to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to compel him to pay them for the 30 months they say are still owing on their contracts.

Theresa Snyders, Loriaan Croy and Elizabeth Wence were dismissed after six months on the job, ostensibly for under performance.

They said they had been hard workers and felt Mr Mpengu had treated them unfairly.

However Mr Mpengu has rejected the allegations.

Ms Snyders, 44, said she had started working on March 6, the same day as Ms Wence, and, together with 13 other people they had cleaned streets in Bernadino Heights, Sonia Park and Goede Hoop from 8am to 4pm.

They had worked for three months before getting overalls and boots.

“The company had no brooms. We had to bring our own brooms from our houses,” she said.

She said that when Bernadino Heights residents had complained about their garbage being left in the street on days when the garbage truck was delayed, she had used her own vehicle to move the bags to the front of her house for collection.

“That is why I am so cross with him,” she said of Mr Mpengu, “after all we had done for him now he dumped us like trash.”

Ms Croy 37, said she had started working in Eikendal on April 1 and had signed a contract. Ms Croy, and the other two women, claim Mr Mpengu gave them verbal assurances they were being employed for three years, although the contracts themselves do not specify a date for termination.

“Fortunately after I finished signing my contract, I took a picture of it with my phone and I submitted it.

“But after we were dismissed, we claimed back our contracts because we wanted to go CCMA. We found them signed by the area manager. My contract was ended on the 29 September,” she said.

The women said they had received dismissal letters citing under performance on Friday September 8, but had not been given any form of notice before that or warnings about their work performance.

Ms Wence said she did not want anything from Mr Mpengu other than the money she felt he owed her.

“I don’t want his job back, only my money. He didn’t respect us after so much we had done for him and decided to dump us like this,” she said.

Mr Mpengu denied offering the women a three-year contract and claimed he had hired them at the insistence of a local community group despite the women not being on the City of Cape Town’s Expand Public Works Programme database.

Mr Mpengu said he had been unhappy about that but had agreed to hire the women, albeit for only six months.

“They forced us to hire them and all three of them were not on the database. We reported them to the City and they told us that they have nothing to do with the third party.

“We never gave them three-year contract. Everyone was given a one-year contract, only three of them were given six months contracts because they were not in the database.”

Mr Mpengu insisted he had given the women three months notice before terminating the contracts.

“But I agree that the termination letter was written wrong and I take full blame for that,” he said.

Provincial commissioner for the CCMA Andrew Van Diemen said he could not comment .