The Johannesburg Labour Court has sided with eight telesales agents who were unfairly fired by financial services company Moneyline in 2017 for not selling enough micro-loans. A Times Select report says this follows a legal bid to reverse a CCMA ruling that they return to their posts.

Moneyline – an arm of Net1 Financial Services – offered micro-loans and, if the grant recipient defaulted, repayments were deducted directly from their grant. The eight, based out of a call centre in the Free State, were given their marching orders after failing to meet monthly sales targets.

According to testimony before court, the group said they were sailing into the wind in trying to meet the targets, imposed at a time when negative publicity was at its height around the loans and the fact that repayments were deducted directly from critical social grants.

Moreover, they said, they were not trained on internal computer systems, with these factors and others contributing toward their underperformance.

In a 19 June ruling, Judge Portia Nkutha-Nkontwana said impetus could be given to the claims of the agents. She found that instead of dismissing the eight, Moneyline should have used the performance inquiry to up-skill and assist the agents, instead of using it as a cudgel.

‘Moneyline failed to show that the employees were given sufficient training, guidance, support, counselling and reasonable time to improve their performance,’ Nkutha-Nkontwana found.

She upheld the arbitrator’s ruling that the agents return to work, a ruling that Net1 has promised to appeal.

Full Times Select report (subscription needed)

Moneyline Financial Services (Pty) Ltd v Chakane NO and Others