EBHN trims work force further

Another 50 employees will be retrenched by a Walvis Bay based ship repair company.

18 March 2019 | Business

Heritha Nankole Muyoba; Acting CEO; Revenue streams remain unpredictable despite the implementation of rigorous cost-cutting and efficiency optimisation measures . . .

Elgin Brown & Hamer Namibia (EBHN) confirmed on 12 March that the company has entered into another round of retrenchments.

The company said via a media statement this is being done to meet market demands, ensure long-term sustainability and further support its drive to be the preferred ship repair partner in West Africa.

According to EBHN the most recent (second) round of restructuring was prompted by the knock-on effect of this industry volatility and by a significant decline in docking activity from the ship repair sector over the past three years.

These combined factors meant that, in order to ensure its survival, the company had to conduct an extremely stringent operational and strategic review.

“Revenue streams remain unpredictable despite the implementation of rigorous cost-cutting and efficiency optimisation measures as well as a major new ship repair project won in February 2019,” explained Heritha Nankole Muyoba, the acting CEO of EBHN.

Muyoba emphasised that the restructuring process does not constitute a value judgement on anyone’s work performance; it is purely a measure to reduce costs and ensure long-term sustainability.

“We remain committed to following due process by complying with all legislative requirements and ensuring this process is conducted with the requisite levels of professionalism, sensitivity and fairness.”

The EBHN board approved a company-wide turnaround strategy on 18 January 2019 which included the retrenchment of 50 employees in total, of whom 49 are from the bargaining unit.

The company said it would ensure compulsory retrenchments are kept to a minimum by offering early retirement and voluntary retrenchment options all employees.

“Going forward, we are leaner and more efficient than ever before, and will ensure a dedicated and an unwavering focus on delivering top-class, innovative and safe ship repair services, retaining our position as the preferred ship repair partner in West Africa,” concluded Muyoba.

Formal notifications were issued to the office of the labour commissioner, the recognised Mining, Metal, Maritime and Construction Workers Union (MMMC) and company’s bargaining unit on 1 February 2019.

The company said it had worked closely with the recognised trade union as well as the EBH Namibia workers representative committee (WRC) and the ministry of labour, industrial relations and employment creation in terms of the process.

Negotiations with the union were concluded on 7 March 2019, and the agreement was signed on 12 March 2019.

The first round of retrenchments was initiated in 2017 and affected 19 non-bargaining unit employees. This was successfully concluded in February 2018.

The second phase was pending while the company reviewed its medium to long-term viability, in the face of the challenging and volatile nature of the offshore support and ship repair sector.

At the time of the decision to retrench employees in 2016, EBHN employed 551 people of whom 466 were permanent staff and 85 fixed-term contractors (FTCs). Of the 102 employees retrenched back then, 82 opted for voluntary separation with 20 employees taking compulsory retrenchment. The company now employs 345 permanent employees.

EBHN is a ship repair company in Walvis Bay which provides a holistic service solution in all aspects of marine engineering and ship repair to the local and international shipping and offshore industry.

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