Consultants paid P8.3 million to retrench 318 workers
318 employees are on the verge of losing their jobs at Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) following a recommendation by South African based company, Gemini Consulting and Services.
The consultants were engaged to help WUC find ways to improve their productivity.
Gemini’s suggestion to retrench staff was endorsed by the Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Prince Maele, after getting an update from WUC’s board.
In an interview with The Voice this week, Maele ruefully admitted that WUC have been struggling for a while and were forced to come up with a drastic solution.
“Since efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation is what we all want, we engaged a reputable company which did a very good job,” he said of Gemini, who are believed to have pocketed P8.3 million for their services – the lowest bid from the companies that tendered for the job.
Maele dismissed allegations that he stopped the pending retrenchment in case it affected his political career.
“I cannot stop the recommendations that were carried out by the board. I know it is painful to lose a job. We all want to avoid that at all cost but we have failed,” he insisted.
The minister revealed that after the recommendations, they sought a legal opinion from a private attorney approved by the workers union and the corporation.
“We are still engaged in some talks so that by the time we part ways with other employees there won’t be any issues pending,” he added.
Although he did not dwell on the method that will be used, Maele revealed they would give employees the opportunity to leave voluntarily. Otherwise, factors such as age and the possibility of merging jobs will be taken into consideration.
Meanwhile, the Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer, Mmetla Masire has dismissed rumours that he wants out.
“When I joined this organisation there were challenges that I found and I want to deal with – I cannot run away from them. I have a big task ahead of me which, I want to accomplish,” he said adamantly, adding that, due to the imminent mass retrenchment about to take place at WUC, he was not surprised by the whispers.