Threat to only pay 50% of salary
I work in the retail industry, ‘managing’ a small clothing boutique in a coastal village. My letter of appointment states that I’m a Sales Assistant. Every month we are given a sales target, based on the previous year’s targets.
November has been a very quiet month and we have not even achieved a quarter of the sales target so far. The centre is undergoing construction, which is affecting the foot traffic to the store and the surrounding shops have reported the same ‘bad’ sales results as I have.
Last week I received a call from our HR consultant talking about the sales not being on par and said she will send me a note to further our discussion. This note turned out to be a “Councelling Received” letter in which she has given 3 options that I can consider for changing the sales and the letter stated that if I have any further Zero Sales Days, I will receive a written warning.
I sent a message to HR outlining the current problems experienced with the construction and the foot traffic. I also confirmed that the MD has stated that HO is not prepared to assist us with any promotion. No response was received. This impacts my ability to get people to the store in order to sell.
Yesterday I received a letter from our HR consultant stating that if our monthly sales target isn’t reached, my salary will be reduced by 50%. Can they do that?
A Contract of Employment is entered into between two people, and the one party to the agreement cannot unilaterally change the terms of that agreement without the consent of the other party. It amounts to a breach of contract. Employers sometimes unilateral change terms in an effort to frustrate employee to resign. One of the plots the employer can put in place in this regard can be the setting up of sales targets that are unrealistic. Section 186 of the Labour Relations Act and things of that nature. Employers makes it clear that any significant variation in the terms and conditions of employment of an employee may constitute a dismissal. What can be done? Section 64 (4) of the Act provides that the employee can refer the dispute to the CCMA or a bargaining council. The employee would require that the employer not be permitted to unilaterally execute the 50% salaray reduction.
You must however give thoughts to every options available to you.