Windhoek, June 30-With retrenchments being an absolute last resort for Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) – a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group -, the impact of COVID-19 on the business operations and sales resulted in no wage increases being paid for the company’s 2021 financial year while no bonuses would be considered during 2020.
NBL Managing Director, Marco Wenk in a statement during the early stages of the lockdown period assured employees that retrenchments as a result of the liquor industry shutdown at that stage, would be an absolute last resort.
“We have instituted various cost cutting measures including salary reductions for executives, while the rest of our more than 900 employees have thus far continued to receive their full pay, said Wenk.” Part of the cost cutting measures alluded to by Wenk included a zero wage increase to be paid in the 2021 financial year (01 July 2020 – 30 June 2021) and no bonuses payable for 2020. On this basis an agreement was signed with the union last week.
NBL Manager: Human Capital, Timothy Izaks: “The impact of COVID-19 has been severe on the liquor industry. NBL has been substantially impacted by the ban on alcoholic sales in Namibia during stage 1 and stage 2 of the lockdown as well as the alcohol ban in South Africa. I am pleased to say that through purposeful discussions, our shop stewards not only understand this impact, but embrace the bigger picture which is O&L’s 2025 strategy. We appreciate the true ownership the shop stewards demonstrated during the negotiation process and signing of the agreement, and thank NAFAU for their valued partnership.”
The O&L Group Manager: Human Capital & Employee Relations, Johannes Kangandjera said the discussions were tough but constructive. Kangandjera: “Employee representatives were accommodating of the situation the company finds itself in, as a result of the Covid-19 lockdowns. The parties thoroughly understand the impact of COVID-19 on business and are cognizant of its repercussions. Employee safety and business sustainability remains our focus, and our decisions are driven by our purpose of “Creating a future, enhancing life.”
NBL Fulltime Shop Steward, Asalia Mushinga expressed satisfaction in the negotiation process. Mushinga: “We had successful and fruitful negotiations. Our good relationship with management of the company contributed significantly to the negotiation process. We understand the position the company finds itself in, and accept the fate of the next financial year with regards to increases and bonuses. At this point, job security and a fixed monthly salary is more important.”
The agreement signed, affects 431 NBL employees.