PG Bison confirm Willowton closure

2008-09-02 00:00

Timber processor PG Bison have confirmed that the company’s particleboard plant in Willowton has been closed.

Receding product demand was cited as one of the main reasons for the decision.

A major increase in the demand for timber in this region, which resulted in a lack of security of future raw material supply for the plant, was also noted as a contributing factor.

The company told The Witness that the particleboard plant was officially closed on August 9, affecting 192 employees.

Some employees took up posts at other facilities while many received retrenchment packages.

PG Bison described its consultations with employees and unions as constructive.

CEO Chris van Niekerk said the move is necessary in order to secure the company’s continued long-term readiness for growth.

The Willowton melamine faced board (MFB) plant continues to operate as normal.

“Employees received retrenchment packages well in excess of the benefits prescribed by the relevant labour relations legislation and were assisted by financial planning consultants in preparing themselves to re-enter the job market,” said Van Niekerk.

In a response to claims that the decision was influenced by Pietermaritzburg’s apparent inability to “compete” with the company’s new R1,5 billion plant at Ugie in the Eastern Cape, Van Niekerk said the closure of the particleboard plant was not affected nor influenced by any other developments within the PG Bison stable.

PG Bison is a subsidiary of the JSE-listed Steinhoff group.

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