SA HR news roundup: Expected recession prompts CEOs to freeze hiring, consider downsizing

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Campaign calls on companies to eliminate conviction for a crime box on job application forms.

As the country flirts with Stage 5 load shedding, power utility Eskom receives a R180-million grant from German development bank KfW for a renewable energy training facility at Grootvlei coal power station in Mpumalanga. Meanwhile, seven unions representing about 800,000 civil servants reject the government's wage offer and begin plans to embark on a national day of strike action. KPMG research shows top CEOs preparing for upcoming recession and the Ban the Box campaign aims to support the reintegration of former prisoners into the job market.

Expected recession halts hiring

KPMG’s latest CEO Outlook for South Africa predicts that more than 80 percent of CEOs have implemented or plan to implement a hiring freeze in the next six months.

The research shows that in light of an anticipated recession, companies and their executives are being pushed to reconsider their strategies, with talent retention a pivotal factor that needs to be addressed.

CEOs in South Africa are much more worried about the immediate effects of a recession than their global counterparts: 36 percent reported that hiring has stopped, while 42 percent are considering downsizing.

Public sector wage talks continue deadlock

The government has tabled a “final offer” of 7.5 percent to unions involved in public sector wage talks. The offer, which will cost the fiscus R34 billion, comprises a three percent pensionable baseline increase and a 4.5 percent non-pensionable increase.

Seven unions, who represent an estimated 800,000 members and are demanding 10 percent, have threatened to embark on a national day of strike action in protest.

Multi-million rand grant for Grootvlei training facility

Eskom has received a R180-million grant from German development bank KfW for a renewable energy training facility at Grootvlei coal power station in Mpumalanga.

A renewable energy training facility is currently being set up at Komati, following a multimillion-rand grant from the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP).

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said that there were about 200,000 trained people in Mpumalanga working in the coal value chain, who should be upskilled and reskilled to participate in the renewable energy sectors. There are about 16,000 vacancies in the wind and solar industries as people have not been trained for these jobs, he added.

Call for job applications to remove ex-convict ‘box’

Incarceration Nations Network (INN) and the Robben Island Museum have launched the Ban the Box campaign, to support the reintegration of former prisoners into society.

The campaign calls for companies to commit to eliminating the requirement, on job application forms, for people to declare whether they have ever been convicted of a crime.

INN co-founder Dr Baz Dreisinger said that the high rate of re-offenders in South Africa shows that the system to keep citizens safe from crime is not working – and corrections need to be made to the system to facilitate a process that allows ex-convicts to become positive contributors to society.

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