Aberdare proposes restructuring

2010-08-17 00:00

THE stinging recession has forced the well-known Aberdare Cables’ Pietermaritzburg operation in Mkondeni to propose a restructuring process that could affect about 85 employees at the plant.

However, Ian Millar, executive director of human capital and deputy CEO of Aberdare Cables, said rumours of the entire plant relocating to Gauteng are completely false.

He told The Witness that the company is in discussions with its employees and their union representatives in terms of Section 189(3) and 189(A) of the Labour Relations Act.

Although the changes could result in significant job cuts, Millar noted that all stakeholders will have the opportunity to present various alternatives as they are busy with a 60-day consultation process with the unions facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Alternatives include people relocating to other positions in the company and an offer of packages.

“Our end objective is to always limit the impact as much as possible.”

The plant, which employs 335 people, is over 50 years old.

Millar said the company’s decision in principle is to conduct its mains cable manufacturing process in the new manufacturing and distribution facility in Gauteng.

“Existing mains manufacturing equipment at our Eloff Street operation will relocate to the new facility for this purpose. The proposed relocation of this product will result in the elimination of unnecessary duplications and greater efficiency improvements …”

The product has been negatively affected by the struggling construction sector, as well as imported products.

“The new Gauteng manufacturing and distribution facility is closer to our raw material suppliers and the greater South African market.

The company’s proposal, if implemented, will potentially affect some 85 people involved in the manufacture of this product, as well as auxiliary services.”

Millar said that Aberdare will continue to manufacture various other products in Pietermaritzburg, including rubber cables, silicon, ABC (aerial bundled conductor) and Nitrile.

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