Parliament rubbishes EFF claims it will retrench 'thousands' of workers

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Parliament has rubbished claims by the EFF plans are afoot to retrench "thousands of workers" at the legislative arm of government.
Parliament has rubbished claims by the EFF plans are afoot to retrench "thousands of workers" at the legislative arm of government.
PHOTO: Jeffrey Abrahams, Gallo Images
  • Parliament has dismissed claims by the EFF that plans are afoot to retrench "thousands of workers" at the legislative arm of government.
  • The EFF claimed employees of Parliament would be retrenched and forced out through voluntary severance packages.
  • Parliament said it was offering voluntary early retirement packages and there were no plans to retrench anyone. 

Parliament has rubbished claims by the EFF plans are afoot to retrench "thousands of workers" at the legislative arm of government.

In a statement on Friday, the party alleged the acting secretary of Parliament, Baby Tyawa, had disclosed workers were going to be retrenched.

This was said to be revealed at a meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, where Tyawa said Parliament was short of more than R500 million just to keep retain the staff compliment and would therefore "effect voluntary severance packages to force staff members out".

"Parliament argues that this is as a result of severe cuts to their budget, imposed by the National Treasury," the EFF said.

"This means that parliamentary services will be severely constrained, limiting the ability of members to perform their oversight functions on the executive in a meaningful manner.

"Parliament's staff compliment consists of very crucial positions, such as researchers and content advisors to parliamentary committees, committee secretaries, and others involved in member support services," it added.

READ | EFF threatens court action if political spaces aren't reopened

Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the EFF's claims were patently erroneous and misleading.

"Parliament is currently engaging with National Treasury with a view to introducing a similar process to the one that was implemented in the public service of voluntary early retirement."

"The EFF has falsely claimed without any shred of evidence that Parliament plans to retrench thousands of workers. Voluntary early retirement is not the same as mass retrenchment. A voluntary early retirement incentive is offered to employees who wish to retire early; and in this regard, an employee has an option to initiate the application to be considered for early retirement or to continue to work until their retirement age."

Mothapo added several employees, who were close to retirement age, have already indicated their willingness to take up this opportunity to retire early if it was offered.

"It is voluntary early retirement, and therefore it cannot be used to force staff members out as EFF claims. It is up to those employees to determine if they wish to take such an opportunity or not.

"Retrenchment, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of voluntary early retirement. Nowhere has Parliament ever announced or considered retrenchments as an option."

READ | EFF MPs who disrupted Pravin Gordhan's 2019 budget speech found guilty of misconduct

Mothapo said despite the budget cut, Parliament was not in a crisis that would warrant such drastic intervention as claimed by the EFF.

"As the acting secretary to Parliament stressed during her appearance to the Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament meeting yesterday, appropriate measures will be put in place to ensure retrenchments are avoided.

"While significant savings have been made due to most of the business of Parliament being conducted through virtual platforms as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, such funds may not be a permanent solution to the effects of budget cuts, as the EFF suggests."

He said a false impression had been created in the EFF statement in order to exaggerate the impact of the fabricated retrenchments narrative that Parliament had thousands of staff members.

Parliament has 1 309 staff members.

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