Yandiswa Njanya, far right, and part of her team protest outside Rutherglen's Athlone offices. They claim they were unfairly dismissed. Picture by Mwangi Githahu/Cape Argus
Yandiswa Njanya, far right, and part of her team protest outside Rutherglen's Athlone offices. They claim they were unfairly dismissed. Picture by Mwangi Githahu/Cape Argus

Telemarketers cry foul after their dismissal from an Athlone call centre

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Oct 22, 2021

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Cape Town - A team of 20 telemarketers, who worked without contracts for five days before being summarily dismissed, are crying foul and threatening to take action at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

The 20 said they worked at an Athlone call centre, which was part of Rutherglen Investments, where they serviced the DA’s campaign account calling on voters during the current local government election campaign.

Team leader Yandiswa Njanya said the problem began after her team of 19, who had been trained for a week by the call centre before being put to work, complained about being paid short for a week’s work.

“Each of the team was meant to earn R200 a day which came to R1 000 after five working days. Instead the boss, Rutherglen Investments chairperson Ismail Kaskar only gave us R800. When we demanded the full amount he said that he would pay us but we should not return to work.”

Team member Letisha Bartlett said she still wanted to know why they had been treated so unfairly when all they had done was ask to be paid in full.

Kaskar denied the team had been treated unfairly. He said according to the company’s register and systems, the team had only worked four days, not five.

“We have 300 employees. The team that was working with Yandiswa was the only group that had issues with every single person.

“We went to our register to see if they had attended five days and it showed they hadn’t. However, on the Saturday they got paid, they made so much noise downstairs, that, I said, 'I can’t deal with this drama. Don’t come back on Monday and here’s your money’,” said Kaskar.

The dismissed team then went across the road from Kaskar’s office to the ANC’s Athlone office where they found the ANC MP Faiez Jacobs and asked for his assistance in telling their story to reporters.

Jacobs said: “I came to my office and found the team who complained they had been unfairly dismissed. They didn’t have any contracts or agreement despite being promised a month of work.”

DA spokesperson Bernhard Lotriet said: “This is a labour dispute between employer and employee, neither of which are the DA. We are not commenting on this as it does not involve us. We have a contract with the company but not with the staff itself.”

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