Johannesburg - South African food manufacturer Pioneer Foods is cutting jobs as part of a restructuring process to reduce costs in the face of constrained consumer spending, its chief executive said on Monday.
Retailers and those who supply the sector in Africa's biggest economy are under pressure as debt-laden consumers cut spending, while higher input costs and tougher competition hit margins.
Pioneer chief executive Phil Roux said reducing the wage bill was one of the initiatives the firm was undertaking to increase competitiveness and enhance profitability.
“We are reducing our head count. Most of the work has taken place already,” Roux told Reuters.
He did not say how many jobs the group, which makes bread, breakfast cereal and juices, would cut as the company was in a closed period ahead of its annual results release next month.
Local media reported that Pioneer plans to cut 10 percent of its more than 12,000 employees.
Cutting jobs strikes emotional and political chords in South Africa and are high on the government's radar screen ahead of elections next year.
Income disparities are glaring and the unemployment rate is officially around 25 percent but most analysts reckon it exceeds 40 percent.
Pioneer shares were flat at 83.91 rand as of 12:35 SA time, compared with a 0.15 percent rise in the Johannesburg's All-share index. - Reuters