Layoffs to come by fall at SRS

A new round of voluntary-separation offers will allow only one of Savannah River Site's three main contractors to escape layoffs later this year.

 

The companies -- Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Savannah River Remediation and Wackenhut Services Inc. -- were warned May 16 that federal budget cuts would reduce the Department of Energy's environmental management section funding by $380 million in the coming year.

The companies announced plans to reduce their workforces and immediately began searching for employees willing to leave or retire early.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions closed its voluntary-separation window last week after 185 workers agreed to leave. Those departures followed earlier downsizing efforts in which 328 workers accepted voluntary separation and 342 were laid off in March.

"By the end of June, we will have reduced our workforce by 855 positions since the start of the DOE approved workforce restructuring plan," company spokesman D.T. Townsend said in an e-mailed response to questions. "At this time, we still anticipate the need for an involuntary separation of approximately 545 positions."

The company's current workforce is about 5,500.

The majority of those remaining reductions will occur as layoffs in late August, with about 125 more positions affected in October.

The other two companies announced plans to eliminate 100 positions each.

Savannah River Remediation spokesman Dean Campbell said the company found 100 workers willing to accept the "Self Select Package" for voluntary separation. Its total employment before those departures was 2,716.

Wackenhut, whose security workforce totaled 777 employees in May, identified 21 workers willing to leave voluntarily, spokesman Rob Davis said, leaving 79 positions that still must be eliminated.

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