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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - Die invloed van 'n werkgewer se likwidasie en/of boedelsekwestrasie op die diensverhouding met die werknemer, met die oog op ondernemingsredding as moontlike alternatief : regte

Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1995-5928

 

Abstract

Die likwidasie/sekwestrasie van werkgewers, en die werksverlies wat daaruit spruit, het verreikende gevolge. Nie net ontneem dit werknemers en hul afhanklikes van hul bestaansmiddele nie, maar dit kring ook uit na 'n streek en land se produktiwiteit en dus ekonomiese welvaart. Indien daar 'n haalbare en wettige alternatief bestaan, sou dit derhalwe sinvol wees om te verken.


Tot die laat 1990's het daar 'n likwidasiekultuur in Suid-Afrika geheers. Maatskappye in finansiële nood is óf aan oorname of skikking onderwerp óf kragtens die bepalings van die vorige Wet op Maatskappye 61 van 1973 gelikwideer. Sedertdien het die meeste nywerheidslande egter begin om mislukte maatskappye te probeer red eerder as te likwideer. Hierdie benadering, genaamd ondernemingsredding, is nou ook in die nuwe Suid-Afrikaanse Wet op Maatskappye 71 van 2008 ingesluit.
Hierdie artikel stel eerstens ondersoek in na werknemers se regte met die likwidasie/sekwestrasie van hul werkgewer soos dit tans in die Wet op Arbeidsverhoudinge 66 van 1995 en die Wet op Insolvensie 24 van 1936 vervat is. Daarna val die soeklig op ondernemingsredding as alternatief vir likwidasie om werknemers teen werksverlies te beskerm en maatskappye uiteindelik vir die ekonomie te behou.
Die navorsing vergelyk historiese ontwikkelinge in die Suid-Afrikaanse arbeids- en handelsreg met die huidige stand van sake om tot die gevolgtrekking te kom dat 'n insolvente onderneming nie meer, soos voorheen, as 'n ekonomiese uitgeworpene beskou word nie, maar eerder as 'n sake-eenheid wat met die nodige bystand weer sy plek in die mark sal kan inneem. 'n Ondernemingsreddingsplan bied 'n sukkelende maatskappy die geleentheid om as lewensvatbare entiteit te oorleef, tot voordeel van sy skuldeisers én werknemers, in plaas daarvan om aan 'n likwidasieproses onderwerp te word wat noodwendig tot werks- en ander finansiële verliese lei.


The liquidation/sequestration of employers, along with the subsequent job losses, has far-reaching consequences. It not only deprives employees and their dependants of their means of support, but also affects the productivity and thus economic prosperity of the region and country. Should a viable and lawful alternative exist, it would therefore make sense to explore it.
Up until the late 1990s, South Africa had been characterised by a liquidation culture. Companies in financial distress used to be either subjected to takeover or settlement, or liquidated in terms of the provisions of the previous Companies Act 61 of 1973. However, most industrialised countries have since started trying to save failing companies instead of liquidating them. This approach, known as business rescue, has now also been included in the new South African Companies Act 71 of 2008.
This article first explores employees' rights upon the liquidation/sequestration of their employers, as currently contained in the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 and the Insolvency Act 24 of 1936. The former stipulates two options, namely either retrenchment in terms of section 189 and 189A, or transferring a business as a going concern in terms of section 197A. Retrenchment entails reducing the number of employees, either when the employer is no longer able to afford his entire staff establishment or when there is no longer enough work for all employees. Recent experience in South Africa has shown that companies seem to be willing to pay ever higher amounts in retrenchment packages, which eventually renders them vulnerable to increased financial pressures. The second option, the transfer of a business as a going concern, is aimed at protecting job opportunities. The new employer to whom the business is transferred is obligated to offer the employees essentially the same conditions of service as those that applied at the previous employer. Where employees' conditions of service are amended to such an extent that employees end up significantly worse off than before, employees may terminate the employment contract and seek relief on the grounds of constructive dismissal, which, if confirmed, will automatically constitute unfair dismissal. In turn, section 38 of the Insolvency Act currently also provides prescripts with regard to the termination of employment contracts based on the employer's operational requirements in solvent circumstances.

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2013-03-01
2016-12-10

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