Employees of one of Namibia's biggest transport companies, FP du Toit Transport, will receive only half of their usual salaries this month.
The company is attributing the salary cut to the sharp economic downturn in Namibia due to the Covid-19 state of emergency.
"Our company explored several options to accommodate the most amicable solution. This was done to ensure that our employees do not lose their jobs during this challenging period," FP du Toit Transport's chief executive officer, Stephan Terblanche, says in a note given to employees to explain their situation.
According to Terblanche, the company's operations in Namibia are dependent on the transportation of goods from South Africa. He also says that as a result of a ban on the importation of goods considered as non-essential, 90% of FP du Toit Transport's vehicle fleet has been parked during the lockdown in Namibia.
Terblanche explained that some of the company's employees worked during the entire lockdown period, while the majority were required to stay at home.
"For May, we have implemented a 50% reduction in working hours and salary payment. The company will pay its full contribution toward your pension and medical aid," he stated.
Apart from a normal salary component, the company's remuneration packages also include commission, per kilometer money and trip money.
Terblanche further explained that the decision to cut employees' salaries would be revisited at the end of May, depending on the business' performance.
FP du Toit Transport, which has been in business for 52 years, employs 733 people and has a fleet of 560 vehicles, Terblanche has stated in an affidavit filed at the Windhoek High Court. The affidavit was filed in a case in which the company is part of a legal challenge against state of emergency regulations that forbid employers from reducing employees' salaries, dismissing employees, or compelling them to take leave because of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has on employers' business.