NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Another group of persons will join the unemployment line as Commonwealth Brewery Limited (CBL) announced on Monday that the jobs of 73 employees were made redundant.
A statement released yesterday from the company outlined that CBL recently implemented a new structure for the company’s retail division, 700 Wines and Spirits, and the restructuring exercise impacted a total of 73 employees; 53 from New Providence and 20 from Grand Bahama as their roles were made redundant.
Ron Hepburn, Director of Retail for CBL said that this was the first major exercise of this nature since the company went public, and the decision to restructure was brought on by increased operational costs as well as increased competition from imported beer brands.
The CBL Director of Retail said though this restructuring exercise is a very visible and impactful change, it is not unusual in the course of normal business operations.
The company also noted in its statement that it was not a decision that was taken lightly, however it was necessary.
“We will remain committed to our staff, shareholders and the wider community as we adapt to this operational change,” Hepburn said.
“This restructuring exercise is by no means a negative indication of the health of the company, rather, it is a sign of our commitment to continue and thrive in this dynamic business environment.”
CBL said a methodical streamlining decision was made to simultaneously make job roles redundant while creating a new role, affording the impacted employees the opportunity to apply for the newly-created positions while being fairly compensated for the loss of their old roles.
“We value all of our staff and we will comply with all laws regarding severance pay as well as – for a period – continued health care coverage for the 73 employees post this exercise,” Hepburn said, adding that CBL will treat the impacted former staff with dignity and respect and will do its best to make this transition as smooth as possible for all parties involved.
“CBL, much like many other private enterprises, is subject to change given prevailing market conditions, and the company remains resolute in its focus to provide quality goods and services to The Bahamian public while ensuring our disengaged CBL team members are treated fairly,” the CBL statement concluded.
Before Monday’s announcement of the layoffs, CBL took out an ad which appeared in a local daily on Monday, advising consumers that due to a staff meeting, some locations in New Providence and Grand Bahama would be closed.
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes confirmed yesterday that he had received the required notice that the layoffs would take place at CBL.
According to data released last month by the Department of Statistics, joblessness nationally increased from 10 per cent to 10.7 per cent.
The latest Labour Force Survey reflected the period October 28, 2018, through November 4, 2018.
The data shows that between May 2018 (the time of the previous survey) and November 18, more than 2,300 jobs were created, predominantly by the private sector.
However, more than 4,000 job seekers entered the labour market.
The data also reflected a 6.7 per cent decrease in discouraged workers.
In contrast to New Providence, which saw its unemployment rate increase from 10.1 per cent to 11 per cent, the unemployment rate decreased in Grand Bahama and Abaco.
Meanwhile, during his address to the nation last month, prime minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said while his administration has made considerable progress on improving the Bahamian economy and creating employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, the government still has a lot of work to do.