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Eskom looks set for further job cuts this year, with reports indicating that the utility will extend its strategy of trimming top executive positions to include lower ranking managers as well as the general workforce. Eskom reduced its highest executive structure to 10 positions from 21 late last year.

Jobs bloodbath on the cards for Eskom

Citing a person familiar with the plans, Bloomberg reports that the next phase is to cut a 600-strong layer of managers – known as E-band employees – by at least 70%. The latest notice on job cuts “is only limited to executive level”, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said in a text message. He did not comment on cuts for other managers or staff, Bloomberg said.

The source cited by Bloomberg believes that at least 10 000 people on Eskom’s payroll of 48 600 could lose their jobs, some from natural attrition. However, the bulk of the job losses likely won’t occur until after the presidential election in May, the individual said. A World Bank study in 2016 found that South African utilities pay workers more than double the norm in 35 other countries on the continent, and that Eskom is potentially 66% overstaffed.

The job reductions follow the appointment of new leadership at the utility by President Cyril Ramaphosa to help root out the corruption that contributed to the unsustainable financial state of Eskom. While the new management has taken measures to increase transparency, a turnaround plan for the business has been delayed, and the President has appointed a panel to advise government on how to resolve Eskom’s operational, structural and financial challenges.

Image Credit: Flickr/GovernmentZA: https://www.flickr.com/photos/governmentza/44791240514

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