Former Libstar employee still disgruntled despite settlement

Libstar former employee Pierre-Yves Guerin is angry after the company allegedly treated him unfairly. picture: supplied

Libstar former employee Pierre-Yves Guerin is angry after the company allegedly treated him unfairly. picture: supplied

Published Mar 31, 2024



Although the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruled in Pierre-Yves Guerin favour, he is still angry about the treatment he received when he worked at food producer company, Libstar.

Guerin took the company to the CCMA after he was dismissed in October 2022.

The CCMA ruled that his dismissal was unfair, and ordered Libstar to pay a settlement of R150 000.

Guerin said all he wanted from the company was his compensation.

Libstar, founded in 2005, is a distributor and marketer of branded and private-label consumer goods and food in South Africa and internationally.

Guiren said his ordeal at the began when the general manager who recruited him retired in 2021.

The Cape-Town-based former employee said he was hired to refloat the export business “which was not performing”. His contract, job description and salary were in line with his expertise.

“All went according to plan and we met the yearly targets and much more. This was until the general manager retired in 2021. Things started to take another direction with the marketing manager because he hated me. This is because his relationship with the retired general manager deteriorated over the years for various reasons,” said Guerin.

Libstar spokesperson, Natasha Evason, said Guerin had been an employee, from 2019 to 2022, at Cecil Vinegar Works (CVW), which is a division of Libstar Operations (PTY) Ltd. The export function within CVW was transferred to another dedicated export business in the group at a later date.

“In consequence, Mr Guerin was retrenched from the company. (The) process was conducted strictly within the confines of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.

“Mr Guerin, subsequently, exercised his right to have his retrenchment adjudicated by the CCMA, at which time a full and final settlement with him was facilitated and recorded by the Commission. The matter is closed,” said Evason.

However, Guerin alleges that his dismissal came after he laid a complaint against the marketing manager which was allegedly ignored by the new general manager and the company’s human resource director.

“They did not bother to go through the right channels. And they did not want to raise awareness within Libstar in case it backfired with shareholders,” he said.

He claimed he was also harassed in various ways. They tried “to give me a new modified work contract, wrong KPIs, removed my company credit card, and sent secret emails slandering my name. Basically, they tried everything in the book to get me to resign."

Guerin, who added that he was also blamed for the loss of a contract worth R12 million.

He said when they were unsuccessful they made his position redundant.

“While still consulting with me on my final package the general manager proceeded to send an email to our sister company to advise them of his decision to shift all export business to them.

“After removing the export business from Cecil Vinegar and giving it to Cape Herb, which is a sister company, my employer proceeded to publish a statement online about Cecil Vinegar wanting to export and be present in Germany for an international show,” said Guerin, adding that his contract was terminated in October 2022 and he was dismissed for unknown reasons.

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