WINDHOEK - State-owned meat processer and marketer Meatco is to implement a restructuring plan in which approximately 650 of its 1200 workers would be retrenched.
Agriculture minister Alpheus! Naruseb at a media conference on Friday confirmed the company plans to cut 650 jobs through voluntary severance packages or voluntary early retirement packages.
He told journalists that Meatco has been affected by the current economic headwinds, and thus will embark on implementing a turnaround strategy to improve effectiveness and efficiency in its operations.
“One of the measures focused on realigning its structure and employees compliment with a view to reduce operational costs without incurring job losses,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.
As a result, !Naruseb said Meatco employees were afforded an option of applying for voluntary early retirement which has so far affected more than 650 employees.
!Naruseb said the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) expressed its desire to be involved in the process of voluntary early retirement, with a view to safeguard the interests of the employees and hence requested for the audience with him in his capacity as minister to avert job losses.
He said in July this year Meatco, together with union representatives, met and briefed him on the planned turnaround and realignment strategy.
According to !Naruseb the turnaround strategy is aimed at improving the sustainability of the Namibian meat industry in general and Meatco in particular.
“I then tasked the parties to explore all alternatives to avert possible job losses. To this end, the parties had a meeting on Wednesday, 8 August 2018, and agreed on various resolutions. The parties briefed me yesterday, 9 August 2018, on their agreed resolutions,” he said.
!Naruseb says Meatco and Nafau, under his leadership, developed initiatives that ensure no job losses and sustainability of the public enterprise.
He said Meatco is now in the position to implement a new streamlined organogram and operational model with no job losses and without incurring additional costs.
“We believe that with the new strategy there will be improved efficiency and effectiveness in the operations of Meatco to the benefit of all stakeholders in the livestock industry,” he said.
“In July this year, I also convened a meeting with the livestock sector and industry stakeholders to consult and obtain the various perspectives on challenges facing the sector and industry,” he added.
He said the meeting agreed on the need for short-term studies to assess the challenges facing the small stock sub-sector, the large stock sub-sector south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence and the livestock sector north of the same fence.
These studies, he said, will inform government on the appropriate interventions that will ensure the sustainable and mutually beneficial livestock sector and industry in the country.