The asking of staff happend across various industries in the country according to figures released by trade union Solidarity.
Solidarity’s research shows that employees in the mining industry are hit hardest with 36 companies that have been engaged in retrenchments during the past year, and with 29 261 employees facing retrenchment in the industry. Second worst off is the information and communication technology industry with 8 141 employees at six companies being affected by retrenchments.
In addition, 24 companies in the metal and engineering industry have announced retrenchment processes since April 2015 involving around 7 918 employees, while six companies and 835 employees in the chemical industry have been affected by retrenchments. For a detailed breakdown of the various processes, click here.
Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis said the number of workers eventually retrenched are but a drop in the ocean in comparison to the number of job opportunities lost in the wake of a formal retrenchment process. “For example, in the mining 1,7 job opportunities are created for every permanent appointment made created. In other words the moment such a person is retrenched, 1,7 jobs are lost. The situation in the manufacturing sector is much worse as four external jobs, including jobs at service providers, contractors and support services, are lost for every permanent job abolished.
Moreover, the number of employees accepting voluntary severance packages is increasing at an alarming rate as many employees have simply reached saturation point with having to work amid such uncertainty,” Du Plessis said.
Solidarity Chief Executive Dr Dirk Hermann says that South Africa is in the midst of an almost perfect storm that is destroying jobs. Moreover, there is no sign that it will subside.
“The major factors that are fuelling the storm include unstable global conditions; Chinese surpluses; weaker local growth prospects; the changed structure of the labour market; and weak commodity prices. Political uncertainty sparked by the Nene debacle and political statements; systemic corruption and weakening investor confidence further contributed to the storm. To make matters worse new empowerment codes with totally unrealistic targets have been unilaterally announced for an already beleaguered mining industry,” Herman said.
Hermann added that in such a crisis the single most important intervention by government is to create a climate of investor and business confidence. “South Africa’s dilemma is that President Jacob Zuma himself has become a symbol of a lack of confidence. As a result it is virtually impossible for government to do the single most important thing to calm the storm, and that is to create confidence,” Hermann said.