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Big setback for nuclear build plans' if Necsa sheds 250

Category State Property News

THE South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) is retrenching 250 employees, accelerating the loss of scarce skills as SA plans a huge nuclear build programme, according to a union statement.

The government intends generating an additional 9600MW of electricity from nuclear power stations that could cost more than R300bn. One of the main concerns about the project is the availability of scarce skills.

The corporation has 2179 employees, according to its 2011 annual report. The retrenchments will account for 11% of its staff.

Yesterday, Necsa refused to confirm the skills levels of the employees being retrenched, saying that consultations were still under way.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said 250 employees would be retrenched, resulting in annual savings of R75m.

 

“If allowed to proceed, this will make redundant a number of young professionals who are likely to play a key role in the roll-out of the … (nuclear) build programmes,” Nehawu said in a statement yesterday.

“This comes at a time when government is preparing to spend more than R300bn to build … nuclear power reactors,” the union said.

Necsa spokeswoman Chantal Janneker said yesterday that “austerity measures” had been introduced to deal with the financial constraints facing the agency, “owing to a combination of a reducing government grant trend over

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successive budget cycles, and more challenging market conditions for its commercial subsidiaries”.

About 24% of Necsa’s income is from government grants, with 67% coming from sales and other income. Income for last year was R1,67bn. Salaries account for 26% of Necsa’s expenditure, and amount to R432m.

“The overall salary bill has to be reduced by R100m if the corporation is to remain financially viable,” Ms Janneker said.

 

Nehawu said it “rubbished” the reasons given by the corporation for its financial crisis. “We are not surprised that these retrenchments come two months after the sudden departure of the former CEO of Necsa,” the union said.

Former CEO Rob Adam left Necsa earlier this year to work in the private sector. The union claimed his tenure was characterised by “mismanagement, overspending and excess”.

However, Ms Janneker said yesterday the corporation “strenuously” objected to the union’s allegations.

“Dr Adam’s tenure saw the Necsa group emerge as a billion- rand industry and one of the top international suppliers of radionuclear medicine, with turnover rising from R600m in 2006 to a projected R1,8bn in 2012.”

Nehawu also took a swipe at the corporation’s executive remuneration. “In 2010, the CEO earned R2,66m, including a R619000 bonus, while the lowestpaid Necsa employee received R58000 a year.”

The union said Necsa’s executives had “(given) themselves exorbitant increases of about 306%, whilst the ordinary workers received just a mere 4%-7% salary increase”.

Ms Janneker dismissed these figures, saying “there is no correlation with the figures provided by Nehawu (the 306%), and these increases were also formally presented to and approved by the remunerations committee of the Necsa board.

“The Necsa board has approved ‘shape-and-size’ recommendations to reduce the composition of its executive management from eight to five.”

Author: Warehouse Finder

Submitted 26 Apr 12 / Views 4696