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JOHANNESBURG - Transnet said that it was not contemplating any forced retrenchments. 

The state-owned  rail, port and pipeline company said: “Any statement about retrenchments at Transnet is ill-advised, devoid of truth and may sow uncertainty among our employees.” 

The company said the reports, which are based on a statement issued by the General Secretary of the United National Transport Union (Untu), Steve Harris, were misleading and totally inaccurate.

Harris last week questioned Tumelo Mokwena’s – Transnet General Manager: Human Capital – reasoning after Mokwena said the moratorium that was placed on the filling of non-critical vacancies in Transnet last year, was only an interim measure, according to the union’s website. 

“This does not make sense as Transnet has stated its intention to reduce its wage bill by R4bn within the next three years. To do so, the company is considering the reduction of 9 000 employees, with more than half of them working for Transnet Engineering,” said Harris. 

Also read: Transnet suspends senior officials

Transnet said it valued and respected its relationship with employees and assured them that there would be no forced retrenchments. 

“In addition, Mr Harris’s statement undermines the channels of communication that are available between Transnet and its recognised unions – Satawu and Untu. Earlier this year, Transnet embarked on an intervention to improve organisational efficiency through a voluntary severance package (VSP) offer to employees. 

“The VSP process was completely voluntary and considered in line with business and operational requirements. At no stage did Transnet set any targets for the VSP process. Mr Harris is in possession of an unofficial document which he could not have obtained from the Transnet consultation process,” the company said. 

“The numbers that his statement is referring to are based on a draft document that was superseded by the VSP process.” Transnet said it was in a strong financial position and was continuing to pursue its capital investment despite the challenging economic environment.