Tag: jobs

Source: Ford

Ford Motor Company has announced an investment of R15.8-billion in its South African manufacturing operations – marking the biggest investment in Ford’s 97-year history in South Africa. It also represents one of the largest-ever investments in the South African automotive industry, boosting Ford’s production capability and creating new jobs.

“This investment will further modernise our South African operations, helping them to play an even more important role in the turnaround and growth of our global automotive operations, as well as our strategic alliance with Volkswagen,” said Dianne Craig, president, Ford’s International Markets Group. “Ranger is one of our highest volume, most successful global vehicles. This investment will equip our team with the tools and facilities to deliver the best Ford Ranger ever, in higher numbers and with superior quality.”

Ford announced the investment at a media briefing attended by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as several key government leaders, including Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, Department of Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, City of Tshwane Executive Mayor Randall Williams, and senior Ford executives.

With this investment, Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant is expected to generate revenues exceeding 1.1 percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product.

The annual installed capacity at the Silverton plant will increase to 200,000 vehicles from 168,000, supporting production of the all-new Ford Ranger pickup truck for the domestic market and export to over 100 global markets. The plant also will manufacture Volkswagen pickups trucks as part of the Ford-VW strategic alliance.

The expanded production will help create 1,200 incremental Ford jobs in South Africa, increasing the local workforce to 5,500 employees, and adding an estimated 10,000 new jobs across Ford’s local supplier network, bringing the total to 60,000.

The overall investment includes US$686 million (R10.3 billion) for extensive upgrades to the Silverton Assembly Plant that will increase production volume and drive significant improvements in production efficiency and vehicle quality.

These include construction of a new body shop with the latest robotic technology and a new high-tech stamping plant, both of which will be located on-site for the first time. Both facilities will modernise and streamline the integrated manufacturing process at Silverton while contributing to higher quality and reducing overall cost and waste.

The new stamping plant will use a high-speed line to produce all the major sheet metal components for the new Ranger. It includes a fully automated storage and retrieval system for stamping dies, which will be housed innovatively in the roof of the facility, thus eliminating related labour-intensive processes. In addition, a modern blue-light scanner system that scans surfaces for imperfections will ensure the highest-quality final product leaves the stamping plant.

Extensive upgrades also will be made to the box line, paint shop and final assembly to improve vehicle flow within the plant, along with the expansion of the container and vehicle yards.

Ford also will build new vehicle modification and training centres – the latter developed to ensure all Ford employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to maximise the efficiencies of the enhanced Silverton facilities.

“The extensive upgrades and new state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies will drive efficiencies across our entire South Africa operation – from sequenced delivery of parts direct to the assembly line, to increased vehicle production line speeds and precision of assembly to ensure the world-class quality that our customers expect,” said Andrea Cavallaro, director of Operations, Ford’s International Markets Group.

Island mode

The new investment program builds on the recently announced Project Blue Oval renewable energy project, which aligns with the company’s global target of using 100-percent locally sourced renewable energy for all its manufacturing plants by 2035 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

The first phase of Project Blue Oval already is underway with the construction of solar carports for 4,200 vehicles at the Silverton plant.

“Our aim is to achieve ‘Island Mode’, taking the Silverton Assembly Plant completely off the grid, becoming entirely energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral by 2024,” Cavallaro said. “It will be one of the very first Ford plants anywhere in the world to achieve this status.”

Modernising our supplier base

Ford also will invest US$365 million (R5.5 billion) to upgrade tooling at the company’s major supplier factories.

“Supporting our suppliers with this new tooling will ensure we modernise together to deliver world-class quality for the all-new Ranger at higher volumes for our domestic and import customers,” Cavallaro said.

Economic growth

“As part of our extensive investment in the Silverton plant, we also are building a new Ford-owned and operated chassis line in the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) for this new vehicle programme,” said Ockert Berry, vice president, Operations, for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

“Having this new line and our major component suppliers located adjacent to the Silverton plant in the TASEZ is key to expanding our production capacity, as parts will be sequenced directly onto the assembly line,” Berry added. “This will significantly reduce logistics costs and complexity, improve efficiency and allow us to build more Rangers for our customers.”

In addition to its representation on the TASEZ board, Ford also is working closely with all three spheres of government and relevant state-owned entities such as Transnet, in developing the Gauteng Province – Eastern Cape Province High Capacity Rail Freight Corridor. This will be a full-service line linking the Silverton Assembly Plant and the TASEZ with Port Elizabeth, which is home to Ford’s Struandale Engine Plant and the Coega Special Economic Zone.

The GP-EC High Capacity Rail Freight Corridor will channel all of Ford’s inbound and outbound logistics exclusively through Port Elizabeth to support the higher production volumes. It is projected to create thousands of jobs within the value chain.

“Ford’s investment in our South Africa manufacturing operations underscores our ongoing commitment to deliver ever-better vehicles to our customers in South Africa and around the world, while providing opportunities for our own employees, new team members and our communities,” said Neale Hill, managing director, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

By Mike Schüssler and Phumlani Majozi for IOL

Nearly 1.4-million formal and informal jobs are at risk in the South African economy with the present Level 3 restrictions impacting directly across at least seven sectors.

The sectors are travel, tourism, entertainment, leisure, manufacturing, agriculture, and services that are not elsewhere classified.

The total number of people employed across these sectors equates to one in 12 jobs being directly at risk of destruction. If one includes family and dependants as a reflection of the normal size of households, the level 3 restrictions could impact millions more as they rely on the breadwinner’s wages.

As many also help dependants outside the immediate family, the overall number of people impacted could be as much as 10 percent of the South African population.

Remember, too, that South Africa is often credited with the highest unemployment rate in the world. The impact will be felt even if only half of the jobs at risk are destroyed.

Some provinces, such as the Western and Northern Cape, have even higher numbers: One in six jobs in the Western Cape and one in five in the Northern Cape are at risk.

While the Eastern Cape has only one in 13 jobs at risk, the impact could be greater as the provincial extended unemployment rate could increase to close to 60 percent. Measured differently, the risk for the Eastern Cape is that only one in four adults will have a job if the jobs at risk are destroyed.

While metropolitan unemployment rates are generally lower than rural unemployment rates, all eight metros in the country could end up with extended unemployment rates above 40 percent.

One, Nelson Mandela Bay, would have an unemployment rate of more than 50 percent. Two others, Mangaung and Ekurhuleni, could have unemployment rates of close to 50 percent.

Limpopo and the Eastern Cape already have the highest unemployment rates in the country, so any, even a small, increase would have a devastating impact.

Overall, South African unemployment could rise from 43.1 percent to 51.6 percent within a year, driven by the potential level 3 job losses. And increasing job seekers.

In addition to these unacceptable job losses, the level 3 restrictions are having detrimental repercussions for the turnover of industry as well.

The formal private sector turnover of the industries impacted by the restrictions was R69 billion a month in 2019. The formal private sector is at risk of losing 8.1 percent of its turnover every month that the restrictions remain, using annual financial statistics.

The estimated impact across these sectors is a reduction of at least 60 percent in turnover. This means that R41.4bn is lost every month that the restrictions remain.

The formal salaries paid to employees in these sectors is R9.6bn per month. Personal income tax is estimated at R1.5bn per month. Adding agriculture and informal employee income would be close to R10.5 million.

The knock-on impact can be seen by the fact that these industries buy R38.7bn worth of goods from other sectors every month, and spend R1.5m on advertising as well as fixed costs such as rent, leases, and interest of R4.6bn per month.

Moreover, these sectors pay R7.6bn in taxes every month (excluding employees’ PAYE mentioned above).

These taxes are made up of VAT, excise duties and company taxes.

The total taxes combined are well over R9bn for the formal sector alone per month. Adding things like passenger taxes and tourism spend along with the informal sector VAT spend, the impact of the level 3 restrictions on the fiscus is certainly well over R10bn a month.

The fact that the government extracts more than R10bn a month from these industries during normal times, but cannot find any funds to help them when they are in trouble, is economically short-sighted.

Keeping these businesses alive and operating as far as possible, while they take precautions against the Covid-19 pandemic, will help pay for the now bigger deficit even in the short-term.

Over a maximum period of six years, a relief package that helps the whole industry for three months at a rate of just more than R10bn will have been more than paid back.

Government relief on that scale will also mean that banks will be more likely to help restructure repayments, and suppliers would also be able to help with more finance, too.

Moreover, paying employees extra via the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme would also help greatly. No one can go 10 months with reduced earnings as a result of harsh restrictions without any government relief.

The government has a moral duty to not cause business failure, as well as to avoid mass hunger. It must immediately open the economy up again and allow businesses to take the necessary hygienic precautions without undue interference.

 

Source: Supermarket & Retailer 

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) has called for a moratorium on all retrenchments and potential ‘future processes’, in an effort to preserve jobs during the country’s Covid-19 lockdown.

Fedusa is the second largest national trade union centre in South Africa and has a membership of 556,000 workers.

“The Federation believes that all possible avenues must be considered instead of continuously using workers as scapegoats,” it said.

“Finance minister Tito Mboweni’s Budget speech in February 2021 is not expected to bring about any joy, considering the October 2020 MTBPS outlook – budget deficit is 15.7% of GDP and gross debt is 81.8% of GDP.”

Fedusa said that the South African Reserve Bank should also continue to provide support to workers in 2021.

“Although the SARB was very instrumental in the process, it needs to continue on this trajectory, as the loan guarantee schemes and tax relief measures have yet to deliver the results that were promised, considering that only a meagre R15 billion of the R200 billion capacity relief to SMME’s were provided.”

Statistics South Africa recorded 2.2 million job losses in the second quarter of 2020, leaving just 14.4 million employed people in both the formal and informal sectors

According to the latest Quarterly employment statistics (QES) survey released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), formal sector jobs decreased by 616 000 in the third quarter, year on year.

Pledge to create jobs

Announced as part of the country’s coronavirus economic recovery plan in October, president Cyril Ramaphosa said that government will create a ‘presidential employment stimulus’ designed to respond to the rise in unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The aim of this stimulus is to create or support 800,000 jobs in South Africa within the current financial year.

Ramaphosa said that this is being achieved through an ‘unprecedented’ expansion of public and social employment, as well as through the protection of existing jobs in vulnerable sectors and support for livelihood and enterprise opportunities.

“Eleven national departments and all nine provinces are responsible for the implementation of programmes supported through the employment stimulus,” Ramaphosa said in an update in December.

“As the progress report shows, over 400 000 opportunities have already been supported, with several programmes in the recruitment or beneficiary identification phase.”

Ramaphosa said that the remaining programmes are all on track to meet their targets.

3M to cut 3 000 jobs

By Martin Baccardax for The Street

3M has said that it will eliminate around 2 900 jobs next year, while pulling back on investments in slower-growth markets, as part of an overall cost-cutting plant that will cost around $300-million.

3M said the updated restructuring plans, which were first launched in January, will affect all of its business divisions and geographies include a pre-tax charge of between $250 to $300 million, around $150 million of which will be taken in the current quarter. The moves will likely result in annual pre-tax savings of between $200 million to $250 million each year, 3M said, as it re-positions its global operations in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

3M will detail the restructuring plans at an industry conference hosted by Credit Suisse later today, with CEO Mike Roman scheduled to speak at 8:10 Eastern time.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has advanced the pace of change and disrupted end markets around the world, increasing the need for companies to adapt faster,” Roman said.

“At the same time, we are seeing significant opportunities from our new operating model which we launched at the start of the year. As a result, we are taking further actions to streamline our operations, positioning us to deliver greater growth and productivity as global markets emerge from the pandemic.”

3M shares were marked 0.23% lower in early trading Thursday to change hands at $171.50 each to clip their six-month gain to around 6.5%, well shy of the 13.6% gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average benchmark.

Last month, 3M posted modestly slower-than-expected October sale growth figures Friday, suggesting a potentially sluggish start to the fourth quarter for the industrial group.

3M said October sales rose 3% from last year to $2.9 billion as healthcare revenues rose 12%, offsetting a 4% decline in transportation and electronics. Safety and industrial sales rose 4% while consumer sales were 7% higher, 3M said, compared to respective gains of 6% and 3% in August.

3M had forecast “flat to low single digit” October sales growth during its third quarter earnings conference call with investors last month, but declined to provide profit or revenue guidance for the final three months of the year owning to broader economic and demand uncertainty linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Engen refinery set to shut down

By Shirley le Guern for IOL

The Engen oil refinery (Enref) is expected to close its doors in 2023 and the facility may be converted into a fuel storage facility for imported product, according to sources close to the refinery.

Suppliers to the refinery, who did not want to be named, said they had been informed last week that they should plan ahead for its probable shutdown, although Engen’s head office says that no formal decision has been made.

Combined with depressed demand as a result of Covid-19 and persistent low gross refining margins, the outlook for the refining business remains negative and continues to deteriorate, Engen spokesperson, Gavin Smith, said in a statement.

“Despite an excellent track record of operational efficiency, our refinery continues to be negatively impacted by the external global refining environment,” Smith said.

He added that Engen had initiated consultation with employees regarding a multibillion-rand proposal to increase its import and supply capacity in Durban.

“The proposal, which will ensure Engen meets South Africa’s growing demand for petroleum products, remains at a consultative stage with employees during which time alternatives are being evaluated,” it said.

Engen confirmed that it is considering several options with regards to the refinery but no decision has been made.

The refinery employs 650 people and it is unclear how many jobs are in jeopardy should it close.

Smith added Engen would consult stakeholders at the appropriate time should a decision be taken.

Yesterday, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube said she had assigned Trade and Investment KZN chief executive Neville Matjie to engage with Engen to look into this matter.

“This forms part of the implementation of the economic transformation and reconstruction plan which is aimed at turning around the situation,” she said.

Commissioned in 1954, the refinery is 66 years old. It has, however, undergone consistent modernisation and routine statutory inspections and maintenance work on its process equipment.

It currently produces Euro 2 spec fuel, according to Smith.

It is South Africa’s third largest oil refinery with a capacity of 135 000 barrels a day.

As South Africa does not have its own oil deposits, liquid fuels are either imported in finished form or as crude oil which is refined at the country’s oil refineries.

Although no official figures are available, the World Bank estimates around 18.63% of South Africa’s liquid fuel was imported in 2018. As demand has continued to outstrip supply from local refineries, this has continued to climb.

According to the South African Petroleum Industry Association, the fuel sector contributes about 8.5% of the country’s gross domestic product.

It said that investment in South Africa’s ageing refineries was necessary to avoid widening the trade deficit for liquid fuels.

Smith said that approximately 60% of Engen products sold in Southern Africa were produced by Enref with the remainder imported or procured from other local oil companies.

“The global refining environment is evolving with the emergence of mega sized, integrated and complex refineries resulting in excess global fuel supply and low refining margins. This is forecasted to persist well into the future.”

Transnet, which operates the R30billion multi-product pipeline that transports four different petroleum products, including refined petrol and diesel, between Durban and Gauteng, said it had not been informed of any proposed changes at Enref.

It added it could not comment on the impact of the refinery’s closure on the port of Durban or on the operation of the single buoy mooring about 2.5km off the coast of Durban, through which both crude oil and refined products are offloaded.

Engen, together with other companies in the fuel sector, is a part owner of this single buoy mooring.

Dube-Ncube said that as part of the province’s implementation of the economic transformation and reconstruction plan, they had adopted a business support, retention and extension programme which focused on:

Supporting businesses that are weak but that have sound foundations and can become viable through accessing existing short-term industrial policy support programmes to contain further job losses and protect important production capabilities.

Supporting existing businesses’ need to expand by creating an environment that is conducive to new investment.

She added it was also focusing on the key interventions that are catered for in the KZN Growth and Development Plan, which are to ensure that they improve access to economic development funding and performance monitoring of the value chain in key sectors.

“Engen remains a key player and a leader of the downstream South African petroleum market. We are proud of the fact that this company is located in this province and on the South Durban Basin, where it contributes towards job creation.

“Our wish is for the company to remain in this province for many more years to come,” she added.

“Importantly, as KZN we potentially have access to the abundant resources of the ocean, including fisheries, offshore oil and gas and maritime tourism.

“Our ports of Durban and Richards Bay handle over 60% of the country’s seaborne cargo. We remain determined to work with companies such as Engen to increase the participation of previously disadvantaged communities in sectors such as oil and gas – maritime industry,” Dube-Ncube added.

She said the department was also determined to position Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone as a site for energy infrastructure.

“The importance of the energy supply sector lies both in improving the quality of life for the previously disadvantaged majority as well as supporting large-scale industrial development.

“In particular, the oil and gas industry presents many opportunities for partnerships in this province. Ahead of lockdown, statistics showed that the oil and gas industry employed an estimated 7500 people and had an estimated annual turnover of over R196billion, with the refining segment of the industry contribution almost 99% to the total industry’s turnover,” said Dube-Ncube.

The industry is believed to account for more than 90000 indirect jobs in the distribution and marketing segment of the industry value chain, she added.

 

SA sheds 2.2-million jobs in the second quarter

By Lameez Omarjee for News24

South Africa shed 2.2-million jobs during the second quarter, according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

While the employment figures reflected the largest decline in employment between the second and first quarter since 2008, Stats SA on Tuesday said unemployment fell substantially as well, decreasing by 2.8 million to 4.3 million. The official employment rate is now 23.3%, compared to the first quarter’s 30.1%.

Peter Attard Montalto, economist at Intellidex said that it is best to rely on the expanded definition of unemployment – which would see the rate between 42.6% and 52.7%, which is more realistic.

The expanded definition includes persons who were not employed when surveyed and were available to work but did not look for work either because they are discouraged from looking for work or did not look for work for other reasons other than discouragement.

Weighing in on the latest statistics, chief economist at the Bureau for Economic Research Hugo Pienaar explained that while the number of employed people declined by 2.2-million, the size of the labour force declined by much more – that is by 5 million. “This is why the unemployment rate came down.”

As to why the labour force declined, Pienaar explained that during the hard lockdown in April, people were not allowed to leave their homes unless they were considered essential workers or to buy food. “You were not allowed to go out and look for a job if you were unemployed at that stage,” he said. Millions less people were actively searching for a job and this resulted in a large decline in the labour force, he said.

“This is temporary. In the third quarter, with the economy opening up again, people can look for work again. The labour force will increase again, I imagine quite dramatically,” he added.

Economists had anticipated record high unemployment, due to poor economic conditions. Nearly a million job losses were projected for the single quarter – this matches the job losses in the 12 months following the global financial crisis, Fin24 previously reported. Investec had forecasted an unemployment rate of 37.9%.

Government had implemented a nationwide lockdown in March in order to slow the spread of Covid-19. During April, only essential goods and services were operational and economic activity was limited with lockdown restrictions at their highest level. As a result GDP contracted by 51%, on a quarter-on-quarter, annualised basis. Non-annualised, the contraction was 16.4%.

In its September quarterly bulletin, released on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank noted that the lockdown had brought about logistical complications for Stats SA – contributing to the delay of the release of the employment data.

“The number of unemployed South Africans had already increased significantly in the year to the first quarter of 2020 due to a surge in the number of new and re-entrants into the labour market who failed to find employment.

“The official unemployment rate increased to a record high of 30.1% in the first quarter of 2020, reflecting the impact of the economic recession that had already started in the third quarter of 2019,” the bulletin read.

Stats SA said that it had to change the mode of collection of data to adapt to Covid-19 safety protocols.

“Given the change in the survey mode of collection and the fact that Q2: 2020 estimates are not based on a full sample, comparisons with previous quarters should be made with caution,” Stats SA said.

In an emailed response to questions from Fin24, Stats SA said data is usually collected from April to June. But due to a change in data collection from face-to-face to Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing, it was delayed for planning and the training of field workers between April and mid-May. The data was collected from 14 May to 30 June 2020.

Stats SA noted that the usual sample size for the survey is 30 000 but not all sampled dwelling units had contact numbers and the data for this survey was collected from 17 345 dwelling units.

South Africa moved to Level 1 lockdown on 21 September, after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an easing of restrictions as Covid-19 cases continue to decline.

Among these it was announced that, from 1 October, travel in and out of South Africa will be allowed again under strict conditions.

According to StatsSA, nearly 16.5-million tourists visit South Africa each year. In 2019 alone, this employed 1.5-million people and contributed R425.8-billion to the economy.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has said that the sector is ready to welcome an increase in activity for both domestic and international tourists.

The restrictions, which have yet to be published, will limit travel to and from certain countries that have high infection rates. This will be updated based on the latest scientific data.

However, South Africa’s move to Level 1 has coincided with the northern hemisphere’s approaching winter – and many countries are seeing a rise in cases, resulting in increased lockdown measures.

According to News24, the 10 leading countries for overseas tourists in South Africa are:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. USA
  3. Germany
  4. France
  5. Netherlands
  6. Australia
  7. China
  8. India
  9. Canada
  10. Italy

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, just yesterday announced increased lockdown measures, including a return to work-from-home; a 10pm closure time for pubs, bars and restaurants; stricter rules around face coverings in public; and strict fines for lack of compliance.

In mainland Europe, France has reported 10 569 new cases; Italy saw close to 1 000 new infections; and Germany reported 1 345 new cases Sunday, and a further 922 cases Monday. As a result, European countries are likely to impose more restrictions on public life in the coming days.

While Americans are, at this point, allowed to travel, the lack of stringent measures at a federal level has resulted in many countries putting tourists from the States on a blacklist.

Australia’s borders remain closed, although it is slowly opening domestic borders. India is also opening domestic borders, but international borders are not yet open.

China opened its international borders to select countries, which at the moment are Canada, Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan, Greece, Denmark, Austria and Sweden. This list is expected to change according to the situations in each country.

It has also been noted that domestic tourism is on the rise across the globe as people explore their own backyards, rather than risking quarantine or last minute cancellations. A loss of income due to lockdown and an increase in furlough, retrenchments and unemployment has decreased disposable income – all of which will have a negative impact on tourism.

By Jan Vermeulen for MyBroadband

Amazon announced in June that it was hiring 3 000 new customer service agents in South Africa. The company was looking for skills ranging from basic computer literacy to technical experts.

These new employees are required to work from home and provide support to Amazon customers in North America and Europe.

This means you needed access to a high-speed ADSL or entry-level fibre connection to your home, and to be willing to work shifts the coincide with North American business hours. Some job listings explicitly state a 10Mbps minimum line speed and that LTE connections are not suitable.

According to Amazon, the addition of these 3,000 permanent and seasonal full-time positions will bring the company’s total permanent workforce in South Africa to 7,000.

MyBroadband recently had the opportunity to interview a successful applicant for one of Amazon’s customer service roles, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity. The interview was conducted in person and we were able to verify the authenticity of the claims made.

Impressive, efficient systems
The first thing our jobseeker noted was that every stage during his application and training process was like clockwork.

Amazon communicated what was required at every step and everything was streamlined for efficiency.

After the application through the Amazon jobs website, there was about a week’s wait before the applicant heard that he had made it through the initial screening stages.

Amazon asked whether he was still interested in the position. If he was still interested, he was informed that he needed to complete an aptitude test.

Aptitude testing
This extensive aptitude test is conducted online and took about two hours to complete.

Amazon tested for fluency in English, and reading and listening comprehension.

It then placed the applicant under pressure by having them listen to a scenario where a customer was complaining about something. The recording may be paused at any moment and they were required to answer questions such as “When was this item meant to arrive?”

As he was listening to the customer complaint, Amazon would also pop up perception questions like “Is this customer happy?”

Gruelling training
Another week after the aptitude test, Amazon responded with a job offer. It contained the conditions of employment, salary, and details on company perks like a medical aid, provident fund, and Internet allowance.

Our customer service associate-in-training said that they were given an allowance of R1 200 which had to be put towards their Internet connection.

His total pay package was around R12 000 per month.

The corporate medical aid was provided through Discovery and the provident fund through Momentum.

After accepting the offer, he received a call from an Amazon manager who congratulated him on his appointment.

Two weeks later, he received an email on a Thursday stating that he would receive everything he needed the following day and that his training would begin that Monday. The email also contained instructions on how to set up his equipment.

On Friday morning, a courier arrived with a Lenovo all-in-one computer, an uninterruptible power supply, and a set of hardware security keys. The computer was configured so it could only be used for Amazon.

On Monday morning at 08:00, our trainee was online with a group of 30 other people, a training officer, and his assistant.

They spent eight hours a day in a rigorous and strict training programme.

“Amazon expects a very high level of self-discipline,” he said. “During training, being absent is just not an option.”

If someone was not online at precisely 08:00 in the morning when training was scheduled to start, it was no small issue. The training officer was immediately on the phone to the absent trainee to find out what was going on.

Long hours, strict self-discipline
Trainees were told that after they completed the programme, their working schedules would be quite rigid.

To serve the North American market, your shift in South Africa would begin between 16:00 and 19:00 in the evening and run for eleven hours until the following morning.

This includes an unpaid lunch hour and two paid 15-minute tea breaks.

When you step away from your workstation to take a break, you must set your status as being on a break. If you couldn’t take your break at the scheduled time because you were finishing up a call, you must note that in the system.

Trainees were also informed that they should prepare for the fact that during the first six months of work they will not be able to swap shifts with other customer service associates.

Performance monitoring
Once you graduate from training and you begin working, Amazon monitors your performance.

However, this is not a fixed number applied to all customer support agents. Amazon makes provision for new recruits to go through a period of improving as they become more familiar with the job.

“Everything is measurable,” the interviewee said. “You set a baseline performance level in that first week.”

As long as you are always improving, Amazon is happy. The company also works hard to try and retain staff, he said.

Exit procedure
The person we interviewed did not end up becoming an Amazon staff member. They bowed out during training for personal reasons, and because they felt they would not be able to multitask at the pace needed to excel at the job.

He explained that during training, he learned that they would be required to look up information related to a customer’s query in the Amazon knowledge base for support agents while on a call, and then proceed based on the guidelines provided.

“It’s extreme multitasking,” he said.

When he informed Amazon that he did not wish to continue, there was genuine concern. They wanted to know if they had done something wrong and whether they could be clearer in explaining what the job entailed so applicants would know exactly what to expect.

He was also caught off-guard when Amazon said they would pay him for the time he spent in training.

“It was truly impressive,” he said. “It would be great if South African companies could operate at this level of efficiency.”

Source: Supermarket & Retailer 

More than 1 400 staff members at Pick n Pay have taken voluntary severance packages since March, the retailer has said in a trading update.

The Cape Town-based group’s voluntary severance programme (VSP) offers staff 1.5 weeks of pay per completed year of service, plus four weeks of notice pay.

According to the group, its objective is to reduce employee costs.

The group said the cost of the compensation payments to departing employees will be borne in the first half of the current financial year.

Pick n Pay said it expects the programme to be cost neutral for the full financial year, as compensation packages will be fully recouped through cost savings.

“In subsequent years, the reduction in employee numbers will have a positive impact on the operating costs of the group. Alongside other strategic actions designed to improve the Group’s performance, the VSP is a major step forward in making the business more competitive and more sustainable” the update read.

The group is projecting that its headline earnings per share for the 26 weeks to end August 2020 will be down by more than 50% as it grapples with the effects of Covid-19 on its business. This excludes the impact from hyperinflation accounting in Zimbabwe.

“I want shareholders to understand and be reassured that the impact on our first-half earnings that we are announcing today derives solely from the specific circumstances of the pandemic, the impact of measures taken by government and ourselves to mitigate it, and the once-off costs of our VSP which has made the Group leaner and more competitive,”said Richard Brasher, CEO of Pick n Pay, in the statement.

Source: News24

Retailer Massmart says it has started a consultation process under Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act that may affect 1 800 employees at Game stores in South Africa.

In a short update to shareholders on Tuesday, Massmart said the decision came after it “recently completed an assessment of opportunities to improve our South African Game store efficiencies”.

Section 189 of the act governs, among other things, the procedures that companies must be take ahead of any possible retrenchments.

In addition to Game, Massmart owns Makro, Dion Wired, Builders Warehouse and Masscash.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 4

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top