South Africa cellular operator, Cell C, has come out strongly to clarify that its decision to retrench some of its 1,288 employees did not cause the death of an employee.  After announcing on May 30th that it would retrench 150 of it employees to streamline its business,  trade union body ,Solidarity, accused the operator of causing one of its members to commit suicide on after he had received a notice informing him that he could be retrenched.

According to reports appearing on MoneWeb, Cell C has since moved to clarify its position. Part of the statement from Cell C reads:

“A general communication was sent to all staff on Friday, 25 May via email advising staff that Cell C was about to embark on this process, followed by an SMS alerting all staff to read the email.

Affected employees were issued with formal notifications on Tuesday, 29 May inviting them to consult about possible retrenchment and alternatives to avoid or minimise job losses.” 

Cell C clarified that the employee who died was neither sent a notice of retrenchment nor was he at work on Monday or Tuesday. The statement further reads:

“This is a very sad situation and our main concern is for the family of the deceased at this time. It would therefore be inappropriate to comment on the cause or circumstances around the death of the employee.”

Solidarity has reportedly contacted the mobile operator demanding that the retrenchment process be stopped to pave way for consultations. The trade union spokesperson Marius Croucamp said that “the employer must make counselling available to its employees who are traumatised as a result of the planned retrenchments and the death of a colleague.”

Cell C has however indicated that it has arranged for counselling of those affected by the retrenchment process.