Petrol bombs thrown

2017-03-21 13:02
Production at Evowood mill factory is currently halted after they dismissed over 400 workers recently.

Production at Evowood mill factory is currently halted after they dismissed over 400 workers recently. (Supplied )

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Following the recent mass dismissal of 434 workers over a protracted illegal strike, the Estcourt-based hardboard manufacturer Evowood Mill has halted its production due to safety concerns.

On Friday, two petrol bombs were thrown into the yard of the factory, formerly known as Masonite. 

Yesterday, there was another attempt to throw a petrol bomb at the site, but this was thwarted by the security guards on site.

There have been concerns about the safety of its remaining employees and contractors due to intimidation.

The company’s CEO, Louis Marais, confirmed that production at the factory has been halted for now and that the damage caused during the protests will still be assessed and calculated.

The company has also revealed that the current production stoppage is costing them more than R2 million a day.

“At present, shareholders and management are examining all possible options to resume production at the mill as soon as possible,” said Marais.

He added that contingency plans are currently being set in place to ensure that their customers’ supply was maintained in the short term while the group looks to ensuring a long-term solution.

Despite the disruption at the mill, Evowood’s head office, regional branches, and distribution centres remain fully operational.

In a statement released by the company last week, Marais explained that the Estcourt mill was on the brink of closure in December 2015 when it was acquired by a Black Empowerment consortium comprising Black Bird Capital and Jacobs Capital. 

“The shareholders, who brought the company out of business rescue and took control in August 2016, conducted an extensive due diligence investigation with a view to putting in place a comprehensive business plan that would not only turn around the business but also create a sustainable long-term future for it,” Marais said.

This strategic plan entailed upgrading the equipment, rebranding the company as Evowood and controlling spiralling costs at the mill, Marais added. 

The Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union was not available to comment.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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