CHART: Eskom starts process to cut bloated workforce

By Paul Burkhardt

(Bloomberg) – South Africa’s debt-stricken power utility Eskom has begun a process to offer managers voluntary severance packages.

The board allocated a budget of R400m ($27m) to the plan, according to a document seen by Bloomberg. Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha declined to comment.

Eskom has reduced jobs as it grapples with a R450bn debt burden. Its headcount fell to 46,665 employees in 2019, about 4% lower than the previous year, but wider staff cuts have been resisted by labour unions.

Staff levels remain close to what they were when a World Bank study in 2016 found that Eskom was potentially 66% overstaffed. The workforce has grown more than 23% in the past decade as the business has become loss-making and dependent on government bailouts.

The voluntary packages will be open for managers in non-core positions and those who are 60 to 62 years old, regardless of whether they’re in core, critical or non-core positions, according to the document. Applications will start in the third week of February, with the exits planned by the end of April, subject to Eskom’s discretion, it said.

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