Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

SABS ‘contemplates’ 170 retrenchments to save R150m

The‌ ‌embattled South‌ ‌African‌ ‌Bureau‌ ‌of‌ ‌Standards‌ (SABS) plans‌ ‌to‌ ‌retrench‌ ‌170‌ ‌employees‌ ‌in‌ ‌a ‌R150-million‌ ‌cost-saving‌ ‌endeavour. The SABS‌ ‌was‌ ‌placed‌ ‌under‌ ‌administration‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌department‌ ‌of‌ ‌trade,‌ ‌industry‌ ‌and‌ ‌competition‌ ‌‌in‌ ‌October‌ ‌2018, and has since then implemented a ‌three-year‌ ‌turnaround‌ ‌strategy‌. But the financial state of the institution has continued to deteriorate.

Jodi Scholtz‌, the‌ ‌lead‌ ‌administrator in the turnaround strategy, ‌told‌ ‌parliament’s‌ ‌committee‌ ‌on‌ ‌trade‌ ‌and‌ ‌industry‌ ‌on‌ ‌17‌ ‌March‌,‌ ‌that the‌ ‌SABS‌ ‌group‌ ‌recorded‌ ‌a‌ ‌year-end‌ ‌loss‌ ‌of‌ ‌R74-million‌ ‌in‌ ‌2020.‌ ‌The‌ ‌institution‌ ‌did‌ ‌not‌ ‌achieve‌ ‌its‌ ‌revenue‌ ‌targets‌ ‌and‌ ‌is‌ ‌below‌ ‌budget‌ ‌by‌ ‌R26-million.‌

“While‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌progress‌ ‌in‌ ‌many‌ ‌areas‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌business,‌ ‌the‌ ‌compensation‌ ‌of‌ ‌employees‌ remain ‌the‌ ‌highest‌ ‌cost‌ ‌item,‌ ‌sitting‌ ‌at‌ ‌65%‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌total‌ ‌operating‌ ‌expenditure.‌ ‌The‌ ‌decline‌ ‌in‌ ‌revenue‌ ‌due‌ ‌to‌ ‌loss‌ ‌of‌ ‌customers‌ ‌has‌ ‌further‌ ‌been‌ ‌exacerbated‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌impact‌ ‌of‌ Covid-19,‌ ‌rendering‌ ‌it‌ ‌unsustainable‌ ‌to‌ ‌carry‌ ‌the‌ ‌labour‌ ‌costs‌ ‌as‌ ‌currently‌ ‌structured,”‌ ‌said‌ ‌Scholtz.‌

A‌ ‌notice‌ ‌sent‌ ‌out‌ ‌to‌ ‌staff‌ ‌on‌ ‌11‌ ‌March‌ ‌reads‌ ‌that‌ the ‌SABS‌ ‌“‌ is‌ ‌currently‌ ‌contemplating‌ ‌reducing‌ ‌its‌ ‌headcount‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌operational‌ ‌requirements‌ ‌(retrenchments).‌ ‌As‌ ‌such‌ ‌we‌ ‌would‌ ‌like‌ ‌to‌ ‌commence‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌consultation‌ ‌process‌ ‌in‌ ‌terms‌ ‌of‌ ‌section‌ ‌189‌ ‌(3)‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Labour‌ ‌Relations‌ ‌Act‌.”

According to the notice, ‌“there‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌restructure‌ ‌‌in‌ ‌order‌ ‌to‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌efficient‌ ‌and‌ ‌effective‌ ‌operations‌ ‌of‌ ‌its‌ ‌business,‌ ‌and‌ ‌in‌ ‌so‌ ‌doing,‌ ‌achieve‌ ‌revenue‌ ‌growth‌ ‌and‌ ‌reduction‌ ‌in‌ ‌operating‌ ‌expenditure”. ‌

 ‌In‌ ‌accordance‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌Act,‌ the ‌SABS‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌Commission‌ ‌for‌ ‌Conciliation,‌ ‌Mediation‌ ‌and‌ ‌Arbitration‌ held‌ ‌discussions‌ ‌on‌ ‌8‌ ‌April‌ ‌to‌ ‌appoint‌ ‌a‌ ‌facilitator‌ ‌who‌ ‌will‌ ‌lead‌ ‌the‌ consultation‌ ‌process‌. ‌

The SABS has 832 employees. 

Consultations with staff members are yet to begin and will explore alternatives to retrenchment. Employees will also be able to choose early retirements or voluntary separation packages.

Should the process continue, affected employees will be retrenched before or on 15 May.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Family wants clarity on SANDF soldier killed in friendly fire...

Corporal Simanga Khuselo join the peacekeeping mission in the DRC to save money to build his family a home

SA soldiers have been fighting in a distant land for...

Troops were sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2001 as part of the UN peacekeeping mission that became an offensive against rebels

More top stories

Roads decimate West Africa’s chimpanzee population

The species face mounting pressure from roads and infrastructure development in Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone

South Africa gets major investment to treat Covid-19, TB, cancer,...

President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the investment, noting that it ‘is a leapfrog to cutting edge technology’

Mining industry vaccinates over 200 000 workers, mandatory vaccination not...

Minerals Council aims to get 80% of its workforce vaccinated by November

Despite inflation risks, the monetary policy committee keeps rates on...

Inflation rose well beyond the Reserve Bank’s midpoint target in August
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×