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EOH at odds with City of Joburg SAP team over retrenchments

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Fatima Newman, chief risk officer at EOH.
Fatima Newman, chief risk officer at EOH.

EOH employees working on the City of Johannesburg’s (COJ’s) SAP system are at war with the company over retrenchments, accusing the technology services company of not doing enough to save their jobs.

EOH, which has been working the city’s SAP system for 12 years, will not be participating in the new process to select a service provider.

The city did not go out on public tender for the new contract, but instead released a request for quotation to a closed panel of service providers.

However, the employees want EOH to leverage their skills and experience to request COJ to go out on a public tender, which allows the company to bid for the contract.

This decision not to pursue the contract has irked the employees, who say the COJ SAP environment is highly-customised and they are the only team that has the necessary skills to support the SAP system that was implemented in 2009.

“If these services are not provided, the COJ will experience billing and invoicing challenges that will lead to a new billing crisis in the city.”

In a letter to the board and management, the employees ask EOH to open negotiations with the COJ and save their jobs instead of retrenching them.

The group says over the last two-and-a-half months, it has been subjected to a Section 189 process and are serving the last week of the notice period before they get retrenched.

The development comes just a week after EOH announced a reduced employee headcount by over 1 500 in the six months ending January, which the company attributed to asset disposals and contracts not being renewed.

Nevertheless, the EOH SAP team is pleading with the company to halt retrenchments and save jobs.

“We, as a team, have demonstrated full commitment to you, our employer, by giving blood, sweat, sleepless nights and have made personal sacrifices across many years that has brought stability and enabled business continuity at the City of Johannesburg. Our company, EOH, has and continues to derive significant profit from the SAP support services at COJ.”

The letter reads: “We, as a team, feel aggrieved that on the one hand, EOH is publically declaring their intention to continue and solidify their relationship with government entities and the public sector, yet on the other hand, acts inconsistently and categorically rejects pursuing SAP support opportunities through a competitive bidding process at COJ.

“We feel that as a consequence of this position, we are subjected to a traumatic Section 189 process. We are currently rendering essential services to the largest municipality in the country and it is common knowledge that these services will be required post-30 April 2021. Both our customer and you as our employer are fully aware that these services can only be delivered by our team.”

Responding to the concerns, Fatima Newman, EOH Group risk officer, says: “EOH has received and notes the contents of the open letter to the EOH board and leadership team.

“EOH can confirm that, as previously disclosed, and in terms of the City of Johannesburg support agreement, discussions have been under way for a period of time between EOH and the city.

“EOH is engaging with the employees and will assist with the transition in compliance with all contractual and labour regulations.”

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