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Mon Oct 24 03:34:23 CAT 2016

I was locked in storeroom - worker

AMUKELANI CHAUKE | 19 February, 2013 00:14
Storeroom. File photo

A Pretoria man has gone to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration after he was allegedly locked up in a storeroom for over an hour to complete a job.

Mpho Mokoena, 34, said that last week a boss at Eco Aire locked him and a colleague in a storeroom, which had no windows and little ventilation, to punish them and force them to finish a job they had not completed the previous day.

Eco Aire general manager Jacques Bronkhorst confirmed the incident but refused to comment on whether he believed management's behaviour was in line with the Labour Relations Act.

"The point of the exercise was that they should do the work," he said.

Mokoena - who had worked at the Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, company for only three weeks - said his boss's actions had shocked him and threatened his wellbeing because he suffers from claustrophobia.

"I laid a complaint with the human resources department [but] . it didn't see the need to apologise because he felt he didn't do anything wrong.

"I then decided to quit because I was scared that after I had complained about how badly he treated me, he would have fired me anyway as I had challenged him," Mokoena said.

Asked if the company was made aware that Mokoena was claustrophobic, Bronkhorst said: "There was an issue surrounding that, and it wasn't done to prove a point. I have addressed the matter personally and it has all been resolved now from their side and our side.

"I am not going to lie about anything because [they were in the storeroom] for a very short period of time, actually, and he could still open the door if he wanted to."

Mokoena insisted the door was locked.

Commission spokesman Lusanda Myoli said Mokoena should approach the civil courts if he wanted to sue Eco Aire, or the Department of Labour to complain about working conditions.

"Mokoena was further advised that he has a right to refer his case to the CCMA if he is alleging constructive dismissal."


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