• Several South African companies are retrenching staff in a very tough economy. 
  • Standard Bank, Absa and other large corporates are among those that plan job cuts. 
  • Business Insider SA compiled a list of retrenchments announced since the start of 2019.
  • For more stories go to www.businessinsider.co.za.

The alarming state of the South African economy is taking a heavy toll on companies, and many have announced retrenchments. 

These are some of the biggest job losses since the start of the year:

February

Dunkin Donuts & Baskin Robbins - 120 jobs 

Grand Parade Investments closed Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins in South Africa to improve the group's cash reserves. The company said it has unsuccessfully tried to sell the businesses since September 2018.

Also read: Dunkin' Donuts didn’t cut it in South Africa – but two more provinces will be getting Krispy Kreme donuts via Pick n Pay soon

March

Standard Bank - maximum 1,200 jobs

Standard Bank - South Africa’s largest bank in terms of total assets - announced it will close dozens of branches as the bank focuses on digital banking.  Standard Bank said the closures will affect an anticipated 1,200 jobs, but some employees will be accommodated within its existing structure.

Also read: Standard Bank is closing more than 100 branches - here's the full list

Group Five - undisclosed

Construction giant Group Five announced that it has budgeted R233 million for additional retrenchments in 2019 after retrenching 1,000 employees in 2018. It filed for bankruptcy protection and said that a fire sale of some of its assets was the only option for survival.

Also read: Once proud construction company Group 5 says a fire sale of its assets is now the only option

Absa - 827 jobs

Absa said it was restructuring its South African retail and business banking unit, which will affect 827 employees. Absa refrained from calling it a retrenchment process, but rather said it will try to improve efficiencies which will create “both new opportunities and redundancies across the business”. 

May

PPC cement - undisclosed 

In a retrenchment process the company called “significant”, PPC cement said it is restructuring its Port Elizabeth operation due to the tough economic environment. Employees will be offered an early retirement, while others may relocate to the Western Cape and work at its operations there, PPC said. 

Tiso Blackstar Group - undisclosed

Media, broadcast and retail group Tiso Blackstar announced staff cuts at some of its publications. 

Van Schaik - undisclosed  

Academic bookstore chain Van Schaik, which operates over 70 stores in South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia and Botswana, embarked on a large scale restructuring process, the Daily Dispatch reported

Tongaat Hulett - 5,000 jobs

Tongaat Hulett - South Africa’s largest sugar producer - said it issued Section 189 letters to 5,000 permanent and temporary workers as the company battles with lower sugar prices and the impact from the new sugar tax.

Also read: Another SA company has admitted its financials are wrong - what you need to know about the crisis at Tongaat Hulett

Hulamin Extrusions - 200 jobs

Business Day reported that Hulamin Extrusions, which provides aluminium extrusion products, plans to cut 50% of its staff, affecting roughly 200 positions. This as the company plans to close its Olifantsfontein facility and restructure the Pietermaritzburg plant and support services operations.

June

Sibanye-Stillwater - 3,450 jobs

Mining conglomerate Sibanye-Stillwater said 3,000 employees will be retrenched due to ongoing financial losses at its Beatrix 1 shaft in Free State and Driefontein in Gauteng.  Sibanye-Stillwater in January said more than 6,000 employees will be retrenched, but the number declined after a section 189 process.

Multichoice - 2,000 jobs

Despite posting a strong profit of R7 billion, Multichoice said it will retrench 2,000 employees at its call centres and walk-in services. This as the entertainment company is restructuring its business model to keep up with changing trends, competition from internet streaming providers such as Netflix and demands of its customers.

Alexkor - 238 jobs

State-owned marine diamond miner Alexkor said it will be laying off 238 people after unsuccessful attempts to convince the department of public enterprises to allow it to mine coal. Marine diamond mining is considered high risk, where the grades of diamonds are erratic and difficult to predict.

Continental Tyre - 170 

Continental Tyre South Africa plans to retrench 170 people when it shuts down some operations in Port Elizabeth. 

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