SA HR news roundup: Getting ready for Society 5.0, BEE trust for Shoprite Checkers workers

CCMA agrees on no severance pay for long-term employee who refused to be vaccinated.

The PPS 2021 Graduate Professional Index shows that highly skilled professionals have lost confidence in their future in the country, while Shoprite Checkers plans to issue 40 million shares to at least 126,000 employees through its BEE trust. Meanwhile, the University of Pretoria launches the Centre for the Future of Work in readiness for Society 5.0.

Shoprite Checkers employees to benefit from BEE trust

At least 126,000 employees are expected to benefit from the Shoprite Employee Trust, when the Shoprite Group issues R8.9 billion worth of Shoprite Checkers shares through a new black economic empowerment (BEE) trust.

The 40 million Shoprite Checkers shares will be “for the benefit of its employees to recognise their valued contribution and ensure their ongoing participation in the Shoprite Group’s continued growth and success,” the group said. It will also increase black ownership in Shoprite Checkers to 19.2 percent.

Non-South African employees, estimated at 16,000, will receive “equivalent benefits through their respective payroll”.

UP launches Centre for the Future of Work

The Centre for the Future of Work was recently launched by the University of Pretoria (UP).

“We are already living in the fourth industrial revolution, whereas Society 5.0 is a system where the combination of human skills, collaborative robotics and artificial intelligence [AI] complement one another in the service of humanity and the planet,” said centre Professor Natasja Holtzhausen of UP’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, who is also the centre’s director.

She added that the centre can help any organisation or institution to future-proof their workforce and determine what they would need to help employees reskill and upskill for the future of work, as well as reimagine what the workplace of the future will look like.

No severance pay for employee who refused Covid-19 vax, CCMA rules

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has found that the retrenchment of a long-term employee who refused to get a Covid-19 vaccination was substantively and procedurally fair and the employee was therefore not entitled to a severance package.

Commissioner Piet van Staden said the employee’s decision not to adhere to the employer’s mandatory vaccination policy was “unreasonable”.

The 64-year-old employee, who had worked at the company for 22 years, said she had been unfairly retrenched and the company had not adequately considered alternatives.

Highly skilled have lost confidence

PPS’s 2021 Graduate Professional Index (GPI) shows that highly skilled professionals have lost confidence in their future in the country.

The results showed a substantial reduction in confidence levels in political issues (47 percent) and economic conditions (25 percent) compared to 2019’s results.

Accountants are the most confident about their future, according to the index, with 43 percent indicating that they were very confident and 37 percent saying they were somewhat confident. Those in the dental and medical professions were most pessimistic of their futures, with confidence ratings of 58 percent and 56 percent, respectively.