200 jobs on the line at state nuke body
MORE than 200 scientists, engineers and technicians are on the verge of losing their jobs at the state-owned Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA unless the government intervenes urgently.
The retrenchments, which will start after a 60-day consultation period, will push a large number of qualified engineers, technicians and scientists to the streets to join the country's growing army of the unemployed.
Necsa spokesman Daniel Moagi said yesterday that the parastatal was pursuing a structural review and realignment.
"Necsa is pursuing a review and realignment of the current structure in order to fulfil its mandate within the budget as allocated by government. In this regard, various aspects of the business are under review to ensure cost reduction, rationalisation of the organisation and operational efficiency," Moagi said.
He said conditions that led to retrenchments had not changed but that "a R130-million bail-out could reverse the situation".
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has placed the blame squarely on the government and executive managers.
Yesterday, the union said it had approached the Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters to intervene to save critically scarce skills and to take action against wasteful managers.
Nehawu spokesman Sizwe Pamla said the reduction of Necsa's subsidy was a contributing factor to the looming crisis.
"We are arranging a meeting with the minister to look at how we can save jobs. Workers should not carry the burden of government reducing Necsa's subsidy.
"If retrenchments are allowed to proceed, this will render a large number of young professionals redundant. It will also reverse the transformation gains we have made in the nuclear industry in general," said Pamla.
He said jobs could also be saved if Necsa managers took pay cuts.
"Despite the financial challenges facing the organisation, group executives at Necsa have continued to give themselves exorbitant salary increases of about 306% while ordinary workers received a mere 4% to 7% increase," he said.
Pamla said the union would demand that the government stabilised the parastatal.
Department of Energy spokeswoman Zodwa Batyashe said the minister had received a request to intervene and would engage all stakeholders. - firstname.lastname@example.org