'Bring back skilled engineers to Eskom' - Solidarity

Deputy General Secretary of trade union Solidarity, Dirk Hermann says it is a good idea to bring back skilled technical people previously employed by Eskom.

Hermann was responding to comments made by Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan in Parliament when he admitted that letting go of so many experienced seasoned engineers during Eskom's restructuring may have been a bad idea.

He says the problem with Eskom is not the huge staff complement as some experts suggest but rather a lack of technical skills.

Read: Eskom paid R300 billion (and counting) for 2 deeply flawed coal-fired dinosaurs

These people know the operations and have years of institutional knowledge that is much needed at this moment.

Dirk Hermann, Deputy general secretary - Trade Union Solidarity

The fact is that we have to bring people back, there's a lot of people out there with a lot of skills and from the Solidarity side, we will do everything in our power to definitely support that.

Dirk Hermann, Deputy general secretary - Trade Union Solidarity

There is a long history of Eskom getting rid of the most skilled people and one must confront that specific reality.

Dirk Hermann, Deputy general secretary - Trade Union Solidarity

Hermann says Eskom embarked on a mission to rope in young people through its Affirmative Action policy in the late 90s but claims that resulted into an obsession to also get rid of white people.

He says about 10 000 white people left Eskom from 1992 to 2002 and around the same period over 500 black people also left the company.

That was partly because of the program called Space Creation Program and they paid about R1.8 billion in the form of space creation packages and that's a lot of money.

Dirk Hermann, Deputy general secretary - Trade Union Solidarity

Roundabout 2007, 85% of white employees said that we don't see a future in Eskom

Dirk Hermann, Deputy general secretary - Trade Union Solidarity

The problem here is that we had, in a very short period of time, lost a lot of skill and institutional memory and that led to a shock in Eskom and I think we are still paying for that loss of institutional memory.

Dirk Hermann, Deputy general secretary - Trade Union Solidarity

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Bring back skilled engineers to Eskom' - Solidarity


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