There are fears that 96 employees of Limbe Leaf Tobacco Company may lose their jobs following a decision to shut down the company’s leaf tobacco processing facility in Blantyre.
The company announced in a statement last week that it has closed its Blantyre factory operations and has moved specialised operations to the company’s main factory in Lilongwe in preparation for the commencement of the 2020 tobacco processing season.
In an email response, the company’s Legal & Corporate Affairs Director, Febbie Chikungwa, clarified that no employee has been retrenched as of yet.
“The company is undergoing a consultative process on any potential retrenchments. Only after this process, the company will know the number of employees to be retrenched and the number of employees to be relocated to Lilongwe,” Chikungwa said.
The statement issued by the company’s Managing Director, Donal Mcalpin, says the company reached the decision following an analysis of all relevant factors, circumstances and consequences associated with the move.
“With global declines in demand for leaf tobacco in recent years, Limbe Leaf Tobacco must address its excess processing capacity in order to be competitively structured and ready to meet the challenges and opportunities arising from this evolving situation in the world market, and best serve the Malawi tobacco industry.
“Unfortunately, as is often the case with consolidation and relocation exercises, some personnel will be affected. The company will try to minimise the impact encouraging as many of its 2,600 seasonal employees as possible to apply for seasonal employment with Limbe Leaf in Lilongwe and conducting fair and open consultation with all 95 permanent employees at the facility,” the statement reads.