PetroSA to Retrench About 1k Workers, SA Federation of Trade Unions Berates Decision

PetroSA to Retrench About 1k Workers, SA Federation of Trade Unions Berates Decision

  • The South African Federation of Trade Unions is unhappy about the decision by PetroSA to lay off a large chunk of its workforce
  • Saftu cited that PetroSA's suggestion that economic losses were to blame for its depleting gas reserves were not entirely believable
  • Netizens lamented the looming retrenchments and criticised unions for a lack of commitment to look after the interests of workers

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JOHANNESBURG - The Petroleum, Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa (PetroSA) faces heavy criticism from the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) over plans to retrench about 850 employees amid its ongoing financial meltdown.

According to a SABC News report, Saftu claims that at least 850 workers have been served with retrenchment notices that come into effect at the end of January. Saftu spokesperson Trevor Shaku indicated that the PetroSA was operating at a loss and highlighted several factors contributing to this.

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South African Federation of Trade Unions, Saftu, PetroSA, Retrenchments, Economic losses, Gas reserves, Workers, Employees, Department of Social Development
Saftu is berating the planned retrenchments of close to 1 000 workers at PetroSA. Image: Phill Magakoe/ Gallo Images
Source: Getty Images
"PetroSA cites a shortage of gas in its reserves, in addition to economic challenges. But its inference is not sufficiently corroborated. For instance, the public must know if the depletion of reserves is the only reason the company is operating at a loss," said Shaku.
"To suggest that such economic losses stem from depleting gas reserves would be untrue. The devastating graft that engulfed the public sector, especially state-owned enterprises (SOE), is partly to blame for PetroSA's collapse," added Shaku, accusing the company of last reporting a profit almost ten years ago.

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While Saftu's position on the current state of affairs at PetroSA, the trade union previously welcomed a report that assessed the feasibility of introducing the basic income grant of R1 500, adding the country has enough resources to fund the endeavour.

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In December, EWN reported that the Department of Social Development and several other stakeholders released an expert panel report on basic income support. Saftu subsequently praised the panel for "recognising the feasibility of the grant."

South Africans express displeasure

Online, locals expressed dismay over the looming retrenchment, even encouraging Saftu to pull other unions into the fray. Other netizens criticised the lack of proactiveness among unions in the country.

Briefly News takes a look at some of the comments below.

@Hluphinhliziyo Mbhele wrote:

"The unions in this country are lazy to think they should be thinking about creating jobs by opening factories and new companies with the large sums of money they collect from their members."

@Kwanele Ivan Mavuso said:

"SAFTU must engage with other unions and protect workers and stop criticizing they must fight against the retrenchments that are happening."

@Ben Radebe added:

"It's very sad for any retrenchment but honestly speaking every business over this country suffered enough....this government has no plan besides R350 many will follow them very soon!"

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@Kea Mingus offered:

"They have done this at Telkom, SAA, SABC, they loot first after that is retrenchment all SOEs they expect retrenchment in this corrupt government."

@Manqoba Nkosi mentioned:

"This is what they know criticize have they ever made one job opportunity?"

Trade union calls Lindiwe Sisulu and Cuban engineers out

Elsewhere, Briefly News previously reported that Trade union Solidarity revealed in June that it would lay a complaint against Lindiwe Sisulu, the Water and Sanitation Minister.

This comes after Sisulu reportedly brought over 20 Cuban engineers, who are allegedly only receiving 'stipends', to South Africa. On Tuesday, 1 June, Solidarity stated that the Cuban engineers have employment contracts and are receiving up to R300 000 more per year than SA engineers.

Solidarity revealed that a portion of the remuneration for the engineers includes furnished accommodation, telephone and food costs as well as flights for trips home to Cuba.

The union said that the benefits mentioned above are despite Sisulu's public statement that the engineers are not employees and would, therefore, not be receiving salaries.

Source: Briefly News

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