The first two months of the new year have seen a number of South African companies give notice to retrench workers – a move which will result in more than 9 000 people losing their jobs.
Below are some of the companies who are looking to downsize their workforce:
- Telkom informed trade unions and staff that it could cut up to 3 000 of its more than 15 000 employees
- The company is struggling with declining performance in the face of competition
- The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has highlighted that overall job cuts at Telkom in 2020 could be around 6 000 jobs
- Mining company Samancor Chrome said it could cut close to 2 500 jobs in response to weak chrome prices and power supply problems
- The job cuts would apply to its Eastern and Western Chrome mines
- It cited Eskom’s power supply problems and increased electricity tariffs as reasons for the jobs cut
- Massmart plans to shutter the 23-store Dion-Wired chain of hi-tech appliance shops and 11 Masscash wholesale outlets
- This will affect 1 440 employees of 12 000
- Massmart is suffering from an earnings slump due to declining consumer traffic in malls and low consumer confidence, which has affected sales of high price-ticket electronic items
- The mine has reportedly retrenched 1 142 employees, well below the initial anticipated retrenchment figure of 5 270 jobs
- The mining company employs 88 000 people across South Africa
- The retrenchments follow the Section 189 restructuring at its Marikana operation, which has suffered losses since the shooting in 2012
- Glencore issued section 189 notices to 665 employees
- The retrenchments centre around the mine’s Rustenburg Smelter
- The group has cited the high cost of electricity and an increase in the carbon tax and logistics costs as reasons for downsizing
- Aspen Pharmacare said it plans to cut up to 219 jobs at its Port Elizabeth and East London plants
- The drugmaker is disposing of non-core assets to manage its debt burden as it seeks to remain globally competitive
By Sibongile Khumalo for Fin24
Telkom has issued a notice to cut as many as 3 000 jobs – nearly a third of its workforce – across multiple departments, as the company looks to streamline its operations amid falling earnings and changing market conditions.
Trade union Solidarity, which is one of the unions representing workers, said a notice of the process – which would be conducted in two phases – was received on Wednesday.
“We expected the retrenchments to happens but not in such large numbers. This is quite a large number… we did not expect it,” said Linda Senekal, the union’s sector coordinator.
She said affected workers include those employed in the IT department, customer services and small business.
With a 9 000-strong workforce, Telkom is adjusting to a shift in operating conditions, which have seen a significant move from voice to data.
The semi-privatised company, which operates in several countries in Africa, has also faced calls by Independent Communications Authority of South Africa to drop data costs.
Senekal voiced concern that the company had opted to lay off workers instead of opting to upskill employees for tech-driven jobs.
“Telkom employs a lot of contractors to do jobs that should be done by its workforce,” Senekal said.
The company’s interim financial results, released in November, showed that headline earnings dived 36%, while net debt increased by almost R2bn to R11.8bn.
Telkom is among several large organisations considering job cuts as the country battles high unemployment rates and tough economic conditions.
Last year, debt-stricken national airline, SAA, announced plans to reduce head counts, in a move which was fiercely opposed by unions.
This week, MassMart, which owns Game, DionWired and Makro, among others, announced on Monday that it was consulting with its employees about the potential closure of 34 stores. The move could affect up to 1 440 employees.
By Babalo Ndenze for EWN
Parliament wants the government to find a way to stop the pending retrenchments at retail giant Massmart.
Mandla Rayi, chairperson of the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Employment and Labour called on those departments to urgently intervene.
Massmart, which is majority-owned by US retail giant Walmart, has this week indicated it had started consultations with unions about the closure of up to 34 of its Dion-Wired and Masscash stores which could affect 1 400 employees.
Rayi said that it might not be ideal for the government to interfere in business but the severity of the pending retrenchments necessitated some form of intervention.
“We would like to have a meeting with the departments of employment and labour and DTI, with them telling us how far they’ve gone with regards to their intervention in this matter.”
He said that it was the very same government that facilitated the American owned Massmart’s entry into the South African economy.
“Remember when Massmart, an American company, wanted to come to South Africa, government was involved in facilitating their coming into the country, so we want them to get involved over the pending retrenchments.”
He said that the select committee would request a meeting with the departments of employment and labour as well as the trade and industry department to try to find solutions.
South African Airways (SAA) has informed its more than 5,000 employees that it’s restructuring. It is estimated that about 944 staff will be affected – nearly 20% of the workforce.
The national carrier has had its fair share of financial turbulence.
But in the mid-term budget, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced that the state would pay off the airline’s R9.2-billion debt over the next three years.
The airline has incurred over R28-billion in cumulative losses over the past 13 years.
The South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) has vowed to shut down all digital banking platforms on Friday, according to an article published by ITWeb.
South Africa’s largest financial union has threatened the country with a complete blackout of transactional services, including cash withdrawals, in response to the increase in digitalisation and job losses in the sector.
South African banks have been advising their customers to use online banking platforms on Friday.
However, Sasbo general secretary Joe Kokela told ITWeb in an interview: “Whatever the banks say, it’s their right; I can only speak on behalf of Sasbo and say the digital platforms will be affected. Those services are all controlled by human beings to be able to perform a function. Our argument is that these services will be affected on Friday.”
Sasbo hopes the single day of industrial action will mitigate the retrenchments that have become common in the sector.