Heineken to cut SA jobs by 7% amid ongoing liquor sales ban

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Beer producer Heineken South Africa has said it will be cutting its local staff by about 7%, as it grapples with the ongoing ban on alcohol sales.

The Netherlands-based company, whose brands include Windhoek, Amstel and Soweto Gold, employs 1 000 people at in its South Africa operations. But it has been adversely impacted by three bans on the sales of alcohol the government has imposed, to keep hospitals free of alcohol-related trauma cases as the country battles with Covid-19. 

The company, which suspended a R6-billion expansion project in August 2020, said it had to restructure its South Africa operations because of the impact the pandemic has had on its business in the past year.

"Unfortunately, this review will mean that we need to reduce the number of employees across some roles," the beer and cider producer said on Tuesday night.

Heineken South Africa’s human resources director Yvonne Mosadi said the company had not made the decision to retrench easily.

"Prior to considering this action, the company implemented various cost mitigation measures throughout 2020. Unfortunately, given the ongoing challenging situation the company finds itself in, these measures are no longer adequate to manage and sustain the operating costs of the business," Mosadi said.

The company said it will also continue to review its cost and organisational structure to ensure it is fit for the future needs of the business, particuarily during this tumultuous period.

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