Today's Labour News

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SteinhoffBL Premium reports that an employee exodus might be on the cards at retailer Steinhoff as it edges closer to bankruptcy and skilled staff look for better opportunities.  But some industry analysts also warn of retrenchments among the group's 130,000-strong global workforce.  

Zwelakhe Mnguni of Benguela Global Fund Managers said an exodus of highly skilled people was likely:  "If you just take all the claims ... and look at the debt, I can't imagine anybody who would want to stay there if there is a possibility of retrenchment."  Moreover, the share options of the highly skilled employees “are worthless and there is no prospect of recovering from that kind of situation".  While the Steinhoff board has tried to reassure employees that the firm will preserve jobs, a spokesperson said this week that during “a difficult and uncertain time like we have and are going through” it was naturally more difficult to convince staff that their jobs were secure.  Since December, Steinhoff has had eight resignations at head office level, while some staff in head office group services such as company secretarial, tax and treasury departments have been moved to the underlying operations “where the skills are needed closer to the operations."  Currently, Steinhoff employs 80 people at its head office compared to 125 employees three years ago.  On whether Steinhoff would consider retrenchments, the spokesperson said: "Not at this stage."

  • Read this report by Palesa Vuyolwethu Tshandu in full at BL Premium (paywall access)

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