Over 200 employees of the French company, Bolloré Transport & Logistics Cameroon, have been laid off by the management.
According to reports, the workers who make up about 20% of the total employees seize (1,100) in Cameroon, were downsized due to their prevailing economic conditions compounded by the present Coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Director General, Mohamed Diop the decision to retrenched the work force, though difficult, but is important for the survival of the company, which had piled up deficits since 2017.
“Our sector is experiencing the full impacts of an internationally unfavourable situation that has caused many firms to go bankrupt.” he said adding that;
“we were able to deal with it until now because of support from our shareholders.”
“However, the strategic plan we started implementing in January 2020 was negated by the fast-moving impacts of the coronavirus,” Mohamed Diop further explained.
The social plan adopted was aimed at raising the enterprise from its ashes, to reconnect with competitiveness and profitability, in order to be able to save nearly 900 direct jobs after the degreasing.
The concerned staffs, sources said, are from all segments of the company’s logistics operations (logistics, storing, and transit).
Sources revealed to News Upfront that this measure resulted from a social plan negotiated since January 2020 with the agreement of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
“The concluded protocol ensured that the rights of licensees were respected. In addition to the contractual legal rights, a good separation bonus has been allocated to each one ranging from 3 to 9 months’ salary,” Labour Minister, Grégoire Owona reportedly said.
“The agreement signed made sure the laid-off staff’s rights are respected. Apart from their basic legal rights, severance pays amounting to 3 to 9 months of salaries were given to each of them (…) Additional social measures have been taken for people in vulnerable situations. For instance, widows and widowers were redeployed,” the Ministry noted.
“In this crisis period, Bolloré Transport & Logistics Cameroon is obliged to adapt to the situation to emerge from it strengthened. It is a transformation phase to better grasp the growth opportunities presented by Cameroon and countries of the sub-region,” the Director General added.
Despite the loss of concession over the container terminal in the Port of Douala, the Bolloré group still has a strong presence in the Cameroonian economy.
The group, which has been operating in Cameroon for decades now, still has harbour (Société d’exploitation des parcs à bois du Cameroun and Kribi Conteneurs Terminal) as well as the rail concessions (Camrail).
According to A study recently conducted by an audit firm, Ernst & Young showed that the Bolloré group’s activities generate about 5,000 direct (99% of which are handled by local labour) and over 13,000 indirect jobs.