South Africa’s ailing power utility, Eskom, said on Friday that there are no plans to retrench employees at the state owned entity.
This comes after trade union Solidarity said on Thursday that Eskom, wants to get rid of another 500 white males by 2025, mainly persons who are responsible for maintenance work.
Eskom said in a statement that it wishes to reassure the public that there are neither plans nor decisions to retrench any employees, whatever their gender or race.
“Retrenchments in South Africa are regulated by Section 189 (3) of the Labour Relations Act of 1995, with strict requirements on appropriate consultations with all the relevant stakeholders, including the recognised trade unions. These consultations must clearly spell out the reasons and conditions under which retrenchments can be allowed. Discrimination based on race or gender do not qualify as a criterion for retrenchment,” Eskom said.
“The document referred to in the article is part of internal consultations on employment equity with trade unions, which amongst others seek to verify information for correctness, solicit inputs on targets as well as the required affirmative action measures. As per consultation process, all parties are afforded an opportunity to engage, clarify, suggest alternatives before final decisions are taken,” Eskom further stated.
“It is rather unfortunate, opportunistic, and unprofessional for Solidarity, or any party to the confidential internal consultations, to opt to cause unnecessary panic and fear, creating sensation among our staff and in the media before allowing the internal processes to make the appropriate decision.”
Eskom said its transformation agenda and employment practices are guided by our values, operational requirements, and the country‘s labour laws rather than race.
“We are committed to achieving diversity, equity and inclusion in a responsible and sustainable manner. Eskom acknowledges the concerns of all South Africans regarding the current energy crisis. We have put in place measures to bolster the critical skills required to improve plant performance,” Eskom stated.
“Amongst other, as Eskom has regularly communicated, these include recruiting retired former employees and other specialist skills that have the potential to help resolve the energy crisis. These are South Africans of all hues and gender,” the state owned utility said.