…December records highest number of job losses
By Patience Nyangove
OVER 1 200 workers lost their jobs in the last three months of 2016 due to massive retrenchments that rocked 114 companies, Confidente has learnt.
December saw the highest number of employees left jobless after 555 were laid off by 35 companies, while October saw 367 workers on the streets after 45 entities retrenched with November leaving 282 workers jobless as well after 34 companies laid them off. Sectors that recorded most retrenchments are mining, manufacturing, construction and housing, and food services.
The mining industry had the biggest number of retrenchments that left 269 jobless followed by the manufacturing industry that saw 134 workers laid off.
According to information unveiled to Confidente by the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation through its chief public relations officer, Maria Hedimbi, the construction industry laid off 105 workers within 90 days followed by the food services that had 102 employees retrenched. Unnamed service activities saw 359 workers laid off while the wholesale and retail trade industry retrenched 73.
Forty-six workers were laid off in the transport and storage sectors followed by 29 in the agriculture forestry and fishing industry with the human health and social work activities industry laying off 40 workers.
Education, private households, information communication and electricity and related industries recorded the lowest number of retrenchments
Economic or financial problems have been cited as the biggest contributing factors to the retrenchments which saw 576 laid off as a result. The folding of companies saw 49 laid off while restructuring exercises resulted in 103 losing their jobs with 121 left job hunting after company owners sold off their businesses.
At least 307 other employees were retrenched for unnamed reasons while 48 became jobless after their contracts came to an end.
Khomas region saw the biggest number of workers laid off with 626 retrenched within 90 days followed by Erongo that had 383 retrenched while the //Karas region recorded 99 retrenchments.
Otjozondjupa region saw 31 retrenched followed by Zambezi at 23 and Hardap-22, Kavango West- 11, Oshikoto -five and Ohangwena- four.
Commenting on the retrenchments, Hedimbi said a large number of notices to retrench have been brought to the attention of the Labour Commissioner’s office.
“Section 34 of the Labour Act, 2007 clearly stipulates that all the employers that intend to collectively terminate the employee`s services due to various reasons ranging from closure, contract, re-organisation/restructuring and/or financial reasons amongst others must notify the Office of the Labour Commissioner. During the reporting period, a large number of notices of retrenchments have been brought to the attention of the Labour Commissioner. The retrenchment notices range from small businesses to well established companies, most of whom are citing the current economic conditions as the reason for reducing their workforce or total closure of business.”
Commenting on the massive retrenchments the Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein said the job losses were some of the effects of the economic downturn.
“These have affected the labour market and now we have to concentrate on how to get out of it but we are cautiously optimistic that the situation will get better. We hope the worst is over,” he said Tuesday.
The country has been battling a volatile economic climate that has among others led to treasury last year cut its national budget as Schlettwein tried to reduce a Government budget deficit that was ballooning. The budget deficit is said to have developed as a result of a weaker currency, low revenue from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and poor performance of economies of the country’s major trading partners among other reason.
Although the budget cuts will have positive effects on the country’s economy in the long run the cuts have severely affected companies that mostly depended on Government business for their survival as they worsened a situation that was already on the brink of disaster due to the persistent drought which has triggered the massive retrenchments.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015