Sasol Labor Union Says Company Consulting With Bain on Job Cuts

Sasol Ltd. (SOL), the world’s biggest coal-to-gasoline maker, has begun consultations with labor unions over potential job cuts as part of the creation of a new operating structure, the Solidarity union said.

“They are reducing their costs,” Marius Croucamp, a spokesman for Solidarity at the Johannesburg-based company, said by phone. Talks with the union started in late November following a downsizing plan conducted by the company and Boston-based management consultancy Bain & Co., he said.

Sasol plans to save 3 billion rand ($279 million) from cost cuts within the next two to three years, the company said in a Sept. 9 presentation.

“Due to the progress made in designing the new operating model, we are contemplating potential people impacts as a result of this program,” Alex Anderson, a spokesman for Sasol, said in an e-mail response to questions. “We anticipate that for at least the next six months the impacts will be limited to the senior management structures in the organization.”

The initiative by Sasol and Bain, called ‘Project Phoenix’, could result in about 1,000 job losses, Croucamp said. “Our concern is with job cuts, extended families are affected and there’s no alternative for them to go to in the job market,” he said.

Sasol’s board on Nov. 1 approved an executive committee to “align the the group’s top management with our new operating platform, effective 1 July 2014,” Anderson said. “Because it’s unfolding as we go along we don’t know what the final structure is going to look like” at this time, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Spillane in Johannesburg at cspillane3@bloomberg.net; Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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