Namibia: Livestock Producers Not Happy With Meatco Retrenchments

The Livestock Producers Organisation (LPO) of Namibia says Meatco's decision to retrench its employees will pose a major risk to the public enterprise's sustainability.

Meatco on Thursday announced its restructuring process would affect its workers aged 55 and older.

Some 80 employees are younger than 55.

The LPO in a statement said it would urgently seek a meeting with Meatco's board to determine which processes were followed, and why only age was used as a criterion in the realignment process.

"The LPO is very concerned about the process followed as well as the strategic principles applied in deciding that age should be the only criteria for retrenchment and realignment. Any business is as good as its intellectual capital, experience and skills," Martinus Pretorius, the LPO's chairperson, noted.

He said the decision has the potential to damage business confidence.

"It is critically important to maintain the confidence of primary product suppliers, customers and financiers," Pretorius said.

He said Namibian beef exports form a critical pillar of the cattle industry, and Meatco's international competitiveness remains non-negotiable to ensure that primary cattle production can grow sustainably.

Pretorius said it has, for some time, been highlighting the uncompetitive cost structure of Meatco, urging that a total realignment of the corporation's business plan is needed.

Although the organisation supports the decision to realign, he said it is international business practice to first determine what core expertise and experience should be retained before embarking on a retrenchment process.

"Furthermore, the critical success factors to make any business internationally competitive must be linked to retaining this intellectual capital," he said.

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