340 Workers Affected as #TransNamib Plans Downsizing Programme

TRANSNAMIB has chosen not to divulge further information on its decision to retrench 340 of its 1 309 workers following uproar created by a memo on the subject.

The company says the matter is internal and was not supposed to be leaked.

The transport company’s chief executive officer, Johny Smith, on 31 August wrote to minister of public enterprises Leon Jooste and minister of works and transport John Mutorwa, informing them of the intention to retrench workers in line with the company’s integrated strategic business plan (ISBP).

The ISBP was approved by the Cabinet in 2018.

The downsizing exercise is targeting 154 employees who are close to retirement age, and 186 who are currently part of what has become the rail company’s non-core business.

Smith said the company carries these employees financially and in a redundant capacity.

In a statement yesterday, he said it is concerning that a confidential letter “quickly” became the subject of a number of newspaper and general news items in the country.

Smith said the communication to the media did not come from any of their offices and was therefore not sanctioned or supported by management.

“It is unfortunate that such sensitive and confidential documents have been leaked and circulated in the media without our knowledge and consent,” he said.

The information has been prematurely leaked without giving the proper context, he said.

“We as management condemn such reckless actions that can cause irreparable harm to the organisation.

“As an employer, we are very clear on our duty of care – especially towards our employees – and have a responsibility to act within the Namibian legal framework,” he said.

Additionally, Smith said TransNamib operates in a unionised environment, and as per the signed recognition agreement, must always consult with the recognised union, the Namibia Transport and AlliedWorkers Union (Natau) on such matters.

He said all due processes will be followed and the relevant stakeholders and employees will be engaged in a timely and constructive manner when more information becomes available.

According to the leaked document, the exercise will cost the company roughly N$44 million to execute, but would save it a minimum of N$25 million on an annual basis.

Meanwhile, Jooste on Monday confirmed that he had received the letter, adding that it is an operational matter that falls within the powers and authority of the company’s board of directors.

“They are not seeking permission, but rather informing my office of the process,” he said.

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