Aveng ‘to lay off 120 workers’

NUM said on Thursday it had received a section 189 notice that 2,863 workers would be laid off by Aveng unit Grinaker-LTA.

Picture: www.aveng.co.za.

JOHANNESBURG - A unit of South African construction firm Aveng Ltd said on Friday it would cut 120 jobs mostly due to projects coming to an end and rebuffed a union’s claim that more than 2,000 workers would be affected.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday it had received a section 189 notice that 2,863 workers would be laid off by Aveng unit Grinaker-LTA.

The union says it's deeply saddening and worrying that, so many workers will lose their jobs when there's already a high rate of unemployment in the country.

Work for South Africa’s construction industry has slowed sharply as government contracts stall and weak commodity prices hit demand from the mining industry.

Job cuts are a thorny issue in South Africa where the unemployment rate is at a 14-year high of 27.7%.

The NUM’s spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said the union received the Section 189 notice from Aveng’s Grinaker-LTA unit, saying it planned the layoffs as most of its projects were near completion and its pipeline of new construction had dried up.

The NUM urged Aveng Grinaker-LTA to avoid laying off the workers.

Aveng was not immediately available for comment.

The loss-making firm announced a strategic and operational review in September aimed at improving liquidity and returning the business to profitability after the sudden resignation of Chief Executive Kobus Verster that month.

Aveng, which still doesn’t have a permanent CEO, said at the time it was looking to sell non-core assets, identify a number of products to export to different markets in order to enhance profit, cut underperforming contracts, reorganise its production capacity and simplify the firm’s organisational structures.