The Namibian (Windhoek)

5 June 2012

Namibia: Vineyard Workers Fear Job Losses

FOLLOWING news that International Grape Company (IGC) at Aussenkehr, owned by Dusan Vasiljevic, intends selling some of its vineyards, its workers fear losing their jobs.

The possible layoffs are expected to affect 73 workers - 10 foremen, 10 tractor drivers, 10 truck drivers and 43 general labourers.

The workers told The Namibian that no one is sure whether they will retain their jobs if the sale goes through.

The Cape Orchard Company (COC), which is negotiating to buy IGC's vineyards, has reportedly started recruiting new workers.

COC's general manager could not be reached for comment yesterday.

IGC general manager Wynand Saaiman rejected the rumours of layoffs as "mere speculation".

Saying that negotiations the sale are still continuing, Saaiman remarked: "We're not selling the whole farm, why would we retrench workers?"

Although Saaiman did not rule out layoffs, he said this would a last resort because the company wants to retain its workers for planned new developments.

"If retrenchment is the last resort, obviously there are procedures to be followed which the company will adhere to," said Saaiman.

The workers are planning to convene a meeting with their union and IGC management on Thursday to seek clarity about the possible layoffs, The Namibian was reliably informed.

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