Tobacco company to cut jobs

British American Tobacco SA enters into discussions over retrenchment.

British American Tobacco SA (Batsa) has entered into retrenchment consultations with employees. The discussions follow a five-month ban on cigarettes which was part of the government's Covid-19 mitigation effort.

Batsa has a workforce of more than 2,000 employees but has not specified the number of workers to be affected by the cuts. The company indicated that it had offered them “generous severance and retrenchment packages”.

Btasa general manager Johnny Moloto said, “It is difficult to estimate the number of employees who may eventually be retrenched as a result of the proposed restructuring and efficiency measures, as this is subject to the outcome of the consultation process and other avoidance measures.”

The multinational conglomerate said that it was rolling out a process to optimise its operations in a bid to remain competitive, as volumes had declined significantly. Batsa also indicated that the illicit trade in cigarettes was a factor.

In a strategic move, Batsa has opted to keep its Heidelberg factory open for now and minimise the impact of job losses. Current production and sales are considerably lower than 2019 volumes.