Retrenchment trend on the rise

A leading economist suspects companies are quietly offering retrenchment packages to cut costs.

A chief economist says Pick n Pay’s retrenchment of several hundred staff to cut costs are viewed as harsh.

CAPE TOWN - A leading economist said on Thursday he suspects several South African companies are quietly offering retrenchment packages to cut operating costs.

Earlier this year, retail giant Pick n Pay offered severance packages to some of its top and middle managers in a bid to slash costs.

As only a few accepted, several hundred were retrenched.

Director and Chief Economist of Efficient Group Dawie Roodt said Pick n Pay has been unwilling to speak about their restructuring process as retrenchments are viewed as harsh.

"My suspicion is that anyone in South Africa that is firing someone is seen as a bad person or the company is seen as bad, which is so wrong."

He said there's a lot of focus on unemployment and too little on re-energising companies.

"One of the ideas politicians have is that they have to create jobs and keep the jobs all the time, which is wrong. We have to change with circumstances."