Netcare Group logo. PHOTO: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Netcare on Friday confirmed that the company recently issued a Section 189 notice to inform staff that it will be embarking on a consultation process on the proposed structural review within the hospital division.

In a statement, group employment relations manager at Netcare, Ramasela Mokonyama said the notice was issued to both representative trade unions and employees who may be affected.

"Whilst it is correct that 516 Netcare employees received a letter informing them of the company’s intention to review their conditions of employment, the vast majority of employees who received this notice will be consulted regarding proposed amendments to their current hours of work or current roles," Mokonyama said.

"It is not envisaged that the number of posts that are potentially redundant will exceed 0.7 percent of the 20,000 people employed by Netcare and we are hopeful of securing suitable alternatives for those affected given that we experience monthly staff turnover which is significantly higher than this figure."

Mokonyama said that the notice followed careful assessment by the company of the external influences including current and expected market conditions, and the hospital division’s current resourcing and business processes.

The process of engagement has only started, Mokonyama said, adding that Netcare and the representative trade unions agreed to request the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to facilitate the consultation process.

Earlier, the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) critised the planned retrenchments at the Netcare Group.

Hospersa, the largest trade union at Netcare, has vowed to use all its legal avenues to block any possible retrenchments put forward by the healthcare group.

The trade union said it was shocked by this reason, saying that Netcare raked in millions of rands in the previous financial when it saw a 8.4% increase in revenue which was R20.7 billion in 2018 compared to R19.1 billion in 2017.  

Kevin Halama, Hospersa's spokesperson, said Netcare also recorded a 5.9 percent increase in patient days as well as a 5.3% increase in final dividend to 60 cents a share. 

Halama said Netcare recorded a 17.8% increase in cash generated amounting to R4.3 billion in South Africa. 

"We reject the reasons given by Netcare for the possible retrenchments. Netcare has consistently raked in millions of rands in South Africa's heavily monopolised private hospital industry where it is the market leader," Halama said.

"The group's intentions to retrench employees will leave many families without bread winners in a country where unemployment has reached alarming levels, and this we cannot allow. We will consult with our members whose employment is in jeopardy as per the notice issued.

Halama said Hospersa will not back down and will also explore all possible legal avenues to block the planned retrenchments.

African News Agency (ANA)