Namibia
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31 temporary workers at NBL face job losses

Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL), which was recently taken over by Heineken International BV, will be letting go of 31 fixed-term employees on Friday.

These workers have been provided with only one month’s notice, leaving them unemployed as of Friday.

The 31 individuals affected by the company’s decision are mainly blue-collar workers involved in line production.

According to a source, who this week spoke on condition of anonymity, many of them have been working on fixed-term contracts for three to four years, with their contracts being regularly renewed.

However, on 1 June, they were unexpectedly given notice of the termination of their contracts on 30 June with the promise of certificates of employment.

“One day we were just informed that our contracts are ending. Some of us have accounts, bills and rent to pay, and now we are left to figure out everything in just a month.

“It is already hard to get a job, and now I must compete with my colleagues to get another job,” the source said.

He said the decision is sudden, and raises concerns about the treatment of employees following the acquisition.

Another worker said he anticipates struggling to find another job, especially considering the current challenging job market.

He highlighted the particular challenges faced by individuals in his line of work, where qualifications may be limited, leaving fewer options for alternative employment opportunities.

“It is not going to be easy to find another job. Others are already struggling with jobs, and now I will be too. This is not the type of job where you can just easily find another job, because many of us don’t have good qualifications to have the option of different positions,” he said.

As part of the conditions of the acquisition, it was stipulated there would be a five-year prohibition of laying off employees below management level at NBL in Namibia after Heineken obtained the Ohlthaver & List Group’s shares in the company.

Meanwhile, the company maintains there is no ongoing or contemplated retrenchment process of employees below management level.

NBL spokesperson Surihe Gaomas-Guchu says the fixed-term contracts in question are simply not being renewed as per the terms agreed upon when entering into them.

“The decision by the company was prompted purely by productivity and performance,” she says.

She says the company had to assess and align its workforce according to productivity requirements to ensure efficient operations.

“We are fully aware of the unemployment situation, and this was not an easy decision for the business, but NBL had to consider the current productivity levels,” Gaomas-Guchu says.

Heineken, the renowned Dutch multinational brewing company, became the parent company of Namibia Breweries Limited following its acquisition of Ohlthaver & List’s stake in the national brewer earlier this year.

Known as the second-largest beer producer worldwide, Heineken plays a prominent role in the production, marketing, and distribution of various beverages, primarily focusing on beer.