The management of Elgin Brown and Hamer Namibia has confirmed that the company has entered into a further round of retrenchments, in order to meet market demands, ensure long-term sustainability and further support its drive to be the preferred ship repair partner in West Africa.
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 pended, 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.
The 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 3 years. These combined factors meant that, in order to ensure its survival, the company had to conduct an extremely stringent operational and strategic review.
Consequently, on the 18th January 2019, the Board of Directors of EBH Namibia approved a company-wide turnaround strategy, including the retrenchment of 50 employees in total, of whom 49 are from the bargaining unit.
In a further step to ensure compulsory retrenchments are kept to a minimum, early retirement and voluntary retrenchment options will also be offered to all EBH Namibia employees.
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 by the 1st of February 2019. In terms of this process, EBH Namibia has worked closely with the recognised trade union, the MMMC as well as the EBH Namibia Workers Representative Committee (WRC) and the Namibia Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation (specifically the Office of the Labour Commissioner).
Negotiations with the union were concluded on 7 March 2019, and the agreement was signed on 12 March 2019.
“Despite the implementation of rigorous cost-cutting and efficiency optimisation measures – as well as a major new ship repair project won in February 2019 – revenue streams remain unpredictable,” stated Heritha Nankole Muyoba, Acting CEO of EBH Namibia.
“Notwithstanding the unavoidable financial constraints and considerations, we value all our employees. 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. However, we remain committed to following due process by complying with all legislative requirements and to ensuring that this process is conducted with the requisite levels of professionalism, sensitivity and fairness,” Nankole Muyoba said.
“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,” she concluded.