Chemicals producer BASF Coatings Services announced in January that a merger of two of its sales branches in Gauteng is planned for mid-2014.
BASF Coatings Services is a specialist supplier of technology, service and training to the collision repair industry and commercial transport solutions. Its South African head office is located in Century City, Cape Town, with seven sales operations and offices countrywide and around 300 staff members.
As a consequence of the forthcoming merger, the company’s automotive body parts business, currently located at the Wynberg branch, in Johannesburg, will discontinue its operation and will be dissolved over the next few months, aligning BASF Coatings Services South Africa with the business unit’s global approach, focusing on the sale of automotive refinish paints, which is the company’s core business. With a more focused approach to the core business, customers will benefit from better service in the automotive refinished paint and services process.
Owing to duplications of some operational positions during the merger, it is expected that a planned organisational res- tructuring could have an impact on about 20 positions at BASF Coatings Services by the middle of this year. The Section 189 process started in March. BASF Coatings Services is committed to ensuring that this process is done jointly and in a fair manner.
Meanwhile, BASF Coatings South Africa achieved a key milestone of one-million lost-time injury- (LTI-) free hours at the Vanderbijlpark site. This, it says, is a clear indication of the dedicated manner in which safety has been viewed by the entire workforce of the production site since 1999.
BASF Coatings has the most advanced high-technology facilities for coatings, dispersions and colourants and is recognised as the leading supplier of coil coatings to major customers in South Africa.
A celebratory function was held on November 20, 2013, to honour the employees who contributed to this significant success. BASF Coatings South Africa GM Driaan de la Guerre welcomed the members of staff in attendance, and congratulated them for the outstanding achievement in workplace safety. “It is an honour to be part of a team that has contributed to this remarkable achievement over a period of 14 years, with a complement of no fewer than 50 employees at any stage.”
BASF Business Centre South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa head Joan-Maria Garcia Girona said: “This accomplishment is not only about incident-free hours, but also reiterates the importance of how much BASF values a safe and secure work-place.” He added that safety is a serious matter and, as such, should be the personal responsibility of every employee, contractor, visitor and customer in the company’s working and surrounding environments.
Petrochemicals giant Sasol Group safety adviser Neil Franklin, who was a guest speaker at the function, referred to the challenge of obtaining and maintaining an LTI-free position, testifying that “a million hours doesn’t resonate a lot with a big organisation. The achievement here is not that BASF Coatings has recorded one-million LTI-free hours, but rather that everyone who came onto the premises, left the premises the same way they arrived,” he added.
Special congratulations came from BASF business director: precoatings Europe Dr Nils Lessmann, who addressed the local team and encouraged them to continue their excellent safety behaviour.
The evening was concluded with a toast by Garcia-Girona, who said: “I celebrate with you this wonderful achievement, but also ask that in everything that you do here, at BASF, in your daily personal lives as citizens of South Africa and the world, you practice safety first.”