The national rail service operator TransNamib will commence with a rightsizing process through the voluntary retrenchment of about 340 of its employees. It has previously been reported that TransNamib will embark on the process necessitated by a substantial decline in cargo volumes as well as some positions having become redundant as a result of certain services like roads operations having been discontinued.
In a leaked document directed to all TransNamib employees, management stated that the process will begin in earnest in November 2021 to take effect at the end of each month from November 2021 until the end of March 2022.
“The process will entail a voluntary early retirement for employees who are within five years of normal retirement, as well as for qualifying employees in specific business units that have been deemed non-core to TransNamib as part of its integrated strategic business plan that was approved by Cabinet in 2018,” reads the letter dated 3 November 2021.
“It has been necessary to reduce the staff complement for the company to match its present business pattern and structure. In order for TransNamib to maintain its survival, viability and competitiveness, the company has no other option but to conduct a rightsizing exercise,” explained the letter, signed by TransNamib CEO Johny Smith.
The letter stated the main objective of rightsizing is “the optimal, efficient and effective utilisation of the company’s human, financial, operational and supportive resources”.
According to Smith, the offer is open to all employees, except but not limited to train operations, shunters, assistant train drivers, train drivers, DE fitters, platelayers, trackmen, track welders, engineers and more.
In the letter, the CEO reiterated that the packages will be offered according to stipulations as per the Labour Act, which comprises severance pay of one week’s remuneration for each year of continuous service with TransNamib, one month’s notice on retrenchment, and one week’s special notice payment as per the recognition agreement with the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natau) for employees in the bargaining unit.
“The qualifying employees will not receive the applicable offer at the same time since the process will be staggered as will be best financially viable for the company from the end of November 2021 until March 2022. It must be further emphasised that this is a voluntary offer, and that no qualifying employee will be forced to accept it. It should be seen as an action in good faith by management to prevent the possibility of forced retrenchment,” stated Smith.
About a month ago, the CEO was quoted in a local newspaper as stating that the targeted employees include about 154 individuals nearing retirement, as well as about 186 who are in non-core business units. The voluntary process is expected to cost the company about N$44 million.
TransNamib’s integrated annual report for 2019/20 showed that the company remained in a challenging financial position, despite an improvement in its business operations.