Eskom says it will seek ways of reducing staff costs other than cutting jobs. This after it halted a plan to offer workers voluntary retrenchment deals.

Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza announced last month that the power utility was weighing its options to reduce staff by 4.2% to 31 675 employees for the 2018/2019 financial year.

This week reports emerged yet again that the power utility plans to retrench 15 000 workers as part of it’s turn-around strategy.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe says if they decide to retrench, unions will have to be notified first and thereafter negotiation’s will have to take place.

Phasiwe says they want to finalise wage negotiations with unions this week.

He says the issue of retrenchments is not on the agenda.

“We would like to put in on record that Eskom Board together with management have not actually said anything about retrenchments.”

“Over the last few years we have seen a pattern where we are loosing on average about 4% of our staff. As and when people resign some of those positions are not going to be filled and that is different from retrenchment,” says Phasiwe.

This year Eskom applied to the energy regulator Nersa to raise electricity tariffs by 20%. Nersa granted the power utility 5.2% with effect from April 1st.

Phasiwe says they are currently busy with their business plan, which should be finalised by the end of September. “That business plan looks at improving Eskom efficiencies. The plan is going to influence the structure of how Eskom is going to look like going forward.”