Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL), the makers of St. Louis and Black Label will axe a number of employees following the closure of Palapye Chibuku Depot. BG Business can reveal that after the Sechaba Holdings subsidiary decided to shut the Palapye plant owing to ‘dwindling sales and volumes’ according to new Managing Director Johan De Kok, a very secretive restructuring exercise was undertaken.
BG Business has been told that by August, the plant would cease operation and that over 15 employees are to join the ranks of the unemployed. In the restructuring exercise, sources have revealed that KBL management is failing to communicate properly with the Palapye staff such that some are being cheated out of their exit packages while others are being redeployed to junior positions, which attract lesser benefits.
This week, KBL group corporate affairs manager Ketsitile Mokoro confirmed that indeed a consultation process is ongoing with the affected employees. This is despite the fact that some employees at Palapye plant said that the consultation does not involve the employees but only the top management. KBL management held a closed meeting last Friday where they discussed the retrenchment issue. Asked how many people have been laid off, Mokoro said presently the total number of employees who will lose their employment has not been finalised. “We continue to try and absorb affected employees into other parts of the business where possible and as relevant vacancies arise across the business,” he said. KBL is a sole subsidiary of Sechaba Brewery Holdings Limited, a listed brewing giant.
However employees maintained that KBL is forcing them to take junior positions within the company of which if they decline they simply lose employment. “But this is unfair because the positions come with less benefits and pay compared to those we held previously. Who can take a junior position after working for many years at senior level is this some kind of a joke’s fumed one employee who said he was opting to be retrenched.
KBL spokesperson said however that in instances where employees are offered junior positions the company would ensure that they retain benefits from their previous positions. He said they were trying by all means to absorb as many employees as possible such that it is only in a few instances were junior positions may be available.
He stressed however that affected employees keep their packages in such instances, so as not to unduly disadvantage them. Some employees threatened to complain in writing to group Managing Director requesting that they be handsomely compensated for the loyalty and hard work they put in for many years that made KBL a multi-million-pula company. At the close of markets on Wednesday the company share price closed at 1725 thebe, after increasing by 20 thebe.