Mercedes-Benz lays off off 150 workers
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16 February 2009

EAST LONDON (The Sowetan) - Mercedes-Benz SA has retrenched 150 workers at its East London plant, the vehicle manufacturer said on Friday.

“To minimise the impact on our employees as much as possible, we tried our best to be sensitive, without dragging out the process unnecessarily,” Johann Evertse, vice-president responsible for human resources and executive director, said.

Furthermore, to help employees who would ultimately receive voluntary retrenchment packages, Mercedes-Benz had put in place a number of support initiatives, Evertse said.

“An employment placement agency has been brought on site to assist these employees, free-of- charge, with professional guidance in preparing a CV, to provide face-to-face interviews with a consultant, to provide career advice and mentoring in preparing for interviews and to help with online job applications,” he said.

According to Mercedes-Benz, retrenchment has always been seen as a last resort.

Since the end of 2008 measures implemented at the company included working at adjusted production levels to maintain low inventory levels; an earlier year- end production shutdown; a cost efficiency program; a moratorium on employee appointments throughout the group; and an offer of voluntary early retirement or retrenchment. – I-Net Bridge