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NUM: Eskom's voluntary exit packages precursor to mass job cuts

About R400 million was set aside to try and convince workers to take a pay-out to leave the company. It's hoped this would help save money.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Johannesburg. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The country’s power crisis and the woeful state of Eskom were front-and-center in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday night in Parliament.

While Eskom insisted its voluntary exit packages only applied to non-essential employees, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) warned the move was a precursor to mass retrenchments at the power utility.

*IN FULL: President CyriL Ramaphosa's 2020 Sona

About R400 million was set aside to try and convince workers to take a pay-out to leave the company. It's hoped this would help save money.

While the NUM said it would not stop any of its members from taking up Eskom’s offer, the union said the move was a sign of things to come.

“We know that they are starting with the senior level and they want to come to our members,” said NUM spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburu.

Mammburu said they were not consulted by Eskom ahead of the announcement of the plans.

“This is part of retrenching workers at Eskom and we do not support the voluntary exit packages that workers are encouraged to take,” he said.

Eskom is hoping the move would help improve its efficiency. The utility said the packages would only be opened to qualifying workers who occupy non-core managerial positions.

WATCH: What you need to know about Ramaphosa's Sona 2020