Eskom has asked its staff to consider voluntary retrenchment packages, a spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.
“We can confirm that we have announced the process by which employees can apply for voluntary separation packages,” spokesman Andrew Etzinger said.
The applications, due in February, would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Eskom’s operational requirements would be considered in this process to ensure core critical and scarce skills were not lost.
“We don’t have a target. It is entirely voluntary.”
Asked whether the company would resort to forced retrenchments if there were not enough voluntary separations, Etzinger said: “At this stage, that option is not under consideration.”
The call for voluntary retrenchment applications was in line with the state-owned power producer’s drive to reduce costs.
Eskom on Tuesday released its interim financial results for the period ended 30 September, painting a bleak picture for the company’s liquidity.
Eskom’s six month year-on-year profit was reduced to R9,3 billion, with a projected year-end profit of R500m.
The power producer’s CEO, Tsholofelo Matona, warned that the company’s bleak financial situation, coupled with the operational problems resulting in recent power cuts, meant Eskom had “a crisis on our hands”.
“We know where the problems are [and] we know what some of the solutions are, but for the period ahead we are living on the edge,” Matona said.
Etzinger said the power producer did not have a moratorium on hiring.
“In exceptional circumstances we are hiring but we are, as far as possible, limiting the number of new employees.”
Eskom’s long-term sustainability, however, relied on hiring skilled people in its core operations.
Eskom employs around 43 000 people. — Sapa