Trade union Solidarity says that as many as 58,549 workers in South Africa could lose their jobs this year across a number of industries.
New figures released at a press conference held by Solidarity in Pretoria on Tuesday showed that 88 retrenchment processes have taken place over the past year, up to April 2016.
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, led by Telkom, accounting for the bulk of those processes.
In addition, 24 companies in the metal and engineering industry have announced retrenchment processes since April 2015 involving around 7,918 employees.
According to Solidarity’s research the following 10 companies have faced the biggest retrenchment process over the past year:
|3||South African Post Office||5 065||2015|
|4||Harmony Gold||3 100||2015|
|5||Kumba (Sishen)||2 633||2016|
|6||Bokoni Platinum||2 600||2016|
|7||Anglo American Platinum||2 000||2016|
|10||Samancor Mines||1 700||2016|
Solidarity General Secretary Gideon du Plessis said that the retrenchment figures pale in comparison to the number of job opportunities lost in the wake of a formal retrenchment process.
“For example, in the mining sector 1.7 job opportunities are created for every permanent appointment made. 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 a saturation point with having to work amid such uncertainty,” Du Plessis said.
Solidarity chief executive Dr Dirk Hermann said that in the midst of a current jobs 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.