100 job losses if Oceana Hout Bay shuts down

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Cape Town – Nearly 100 employees are set to lose their jobs if fishing group Oceana [JSE:OCE] shuts down its Hout Bay operation.

Oceana spokesperson Bulelwa Nombutuma told Fin24 that the company was facing increasing complaints about the bad odour at its Hout Bay production plant.

A total of 98 shore-based staff would be affected if the decision was made to close the facility.

The company has since offered employees alternative employment at its St Helena Bay facility.

“Should they not wish to relocate, retrenchment packages, retraining and reskilling will be offered to affected employees,” Nombutuma said.

She said the level of complaints had escalated significantly over the past year.

According to Oceana, it had implemented several measures to reduce the smell, including the use of odour abatement technology and the reduction of its normal annual production by 60% over the past three years.

The measures had a significant negative impact on the financial viability of the business, she said.

However, it did not result in the reduction of the number of complaints.

“To the contrary, increased activism saw the level of complaints grow by 240% during the last three years,” she said.

Nombutuma said Oceana now had two options: Either ignore the growing levels of discontent and revert to the pre-2012 production levels to become financially viable or relocate the plant's processing capacity.

“Should the factory revert to normal production, this would result in an increase from 60 production days per annum to its historical 120 to 180 days per annum.”

Oceana predicted that an increase in processing volumes would escalate complaints from certain sectors of the community still further and it could render operations unworkable.

According to Nombutuma only the Hout Bay operation would be affected by the closure.

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