2000

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE


SPOORNET RETRENCHMENTS

MEDIA STATEMENT ISSUED BY CEDRIC FROLICK, MP
SPOKESPERSON FOR PUBLIC ENTERPRISES

The announcement by Spoornet's Human Resources manager, Abner Mofokeng, that Spoornet may retrench as many as 18 500 workers raises serious questions about Government's restructuring strategy.

We are receiving mixed signals about restructuring on a continuous basis. There is no clarity about where Government is heading, as an example we were recently informed that outsourcing would be used as a mechanism to stave off massive retrenchments. Now we hear Spoornet is budgeting R1.2 billion for retraining 18 500 possible retrenched workers.

The amount proposed for retraining is woefully inadequate, considering that it boils down to R8000 per retrenched worker. How do Government and Spoornet foresee that this amount will empower a retrenched worker to enter the bloated job market with the necessary skills to find new employment?

The UDM on 25 February 2000, asked the Minister of Public Enterprises what are the projected job losses resulting from restructuring at, amongst others, Transnet, of which Spoornet is a component. The reply avoided giving any indication either way. Cynically though, a "fine print" footnote indicates that the possibility of future job losses cannot be predicted by the Minister!

It would appear that the Minister is handling restructuring in a piece-meal fashion. The much-expected announcement of Government's restructuring plan by Minister Radebe continues to be delayed. What have become of the negotiations with the unions in this sector? The Minister must realise two things:

1. Continued speculation caused by each new twist in this saga is destroying the job security of thousands of workers. 2. This saga raises questions about whether Government really has a long-term plan with regard the restructuring of parastatals. 

The Minister must keep his promise that "pockets of poverty" will not be created by restructuring.

Enquiries:
Mr Cedric Frolick, MP
UDM Spokesperson on Public Enterprises

Port Elizabeth
29 May 2000