Layoffs to affect 342 SRS workers

Another phase of layoffs set for August

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions has nearly completed a series of layoffs that began last week and will affect 342 employees.

"There are only a few notifications that have yet to be made," said Garry Flowers, the company's president and CEO, in an e-mailed memo to employees Tuesday.

As part of a plan approved last fall by the U.S. Department of Energy, the primary Savannah River Site contractor was authorized to cut as many as 1,400 positions by the beginning of fiscal year 2012 this fall.

The reduction so far, including the recent layoffs and 328 other employees who agreed to voluntary separation offers in December, is 670, Flowers said.

Even with those reductions, as many as 730 additional jobs could be eliminated at SRS later this year. The next phase of layoffs is scheduled for August.

"We will continue to evaluate business conditions as we move forward with the next phase of the plan," Flowers wrote.

Because the scope of the reduction is so large, the company intends to open a transition center in Aiken this month to offer counseling and outplacement services to affected employees and their families.

"We have invited businesses and educational institutions to participate as well, and we are encouraged so far by the response," Flowers said.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions had 6,492 employees on Jan. 1, making it the largest of several employers at the site.

"I know this is a difficult and disruptive time for every SRNS employee," he wrote. "This is a period of substantial change and shifting priorities, both here at the site and in the country. We will continue to be challenged to find better ways to do business, while meeting the expectations of our customers."