Denel to assist employees cope with restructuring

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As efforts to turn around the fortunes of Denel unravel, the parastatal today announced a series of measures it was putting in place to cushion the impact of possible job losses on its employees.

Denel Chief Executive Officer Shaun Liebenberg told the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises today that while job losses could not be avoided as plans to restructure the parastatal get underway, the well being of those affected by the restructuring process would always be a priority.

"We have enlisted the services of psychologists and other professional people to counsel those who might lose their jobs during this process,' he said.

He listed programmes such as entrepreneurial skills training, financial advice services, business start up funds, as some of the measures which Denel was putting in place to cushion the impact of job losses on its employees.

A shrinking domestic market and stiff global competition has seen Denel?s fortunes take a dive over the past few years.

In a bid to arrest the tide of its losses, which last year amounted to R1.6 billion, the arms-manufacturer embarked on a massive restructuring drive.

Mr Liebenberg told the committee that as part of this process, the company had already, over the last 12 months, shed 750 jobs.

"It should be understood that restructuring is not an event but a process, there is a likelihood that more people might be affected as the process unfolds,' he said.

However, Mr Leibenberg assured the committee that everything was being done to assist retrenched workers cope.

"We already have 265 of our retrenched staff who now run their own businesses,' he said.

He said while retrenchment was a painful process, the parastatal was fortunate in that unions had been cooperative. "They are responding to the situation in an open and transparent way,' he said.

Denel?s turn-round, expected to take five years, has been approved by cabinet and will cost up to R5.1 billion.

By Clive Ndou - BuaNews

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