Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Wisynco jobs safe! - Team members will stay employed, company to lease property, says Mahfood

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2016 | 5:46 AMChristopher Serju
A section of the Wisynco warehouse at Lakes Pen, St. Catherine, which was destroyed by fire on Thursday.

Andrew Mahfood, chief executive officer of the WISYNCO Group yesterday gave the assurance that no worker would be displaced as a result of the fire which destroyed its 260,000-square foot distribution warehouse at Lakes Pen, St. Catherine.

“We thank God that none of our staff was injured and we have no intentions of laying off any team member and I want our team to know that our directors feel their commitment and their tremendous love and respect and admiration for their company. This is our employees’ company and our team members will stay employed,” Mahfood told journalists yesterday morning, even as the fire which started on Thursday continued to burn.

The company was already making plans to lease property elsewhere in order to ramp up its production and distribution, in order to minimise down time and Mahfood disclosed that some workers would be assigned to these locations.

In addition to a wide range of finished products and equipment, some 25 per cent of the company’s solar panels which had been stored on the roof were also destroyed, resulting in a major setback for WISYNCO. However, the CEO advised that plans are on track to get production going very soon.

“The good thing is that none of our production has been affected, so our full beverage production will start back up once we are able to procure and use up some of our materials here. The key right now for us is to secure leased premises where we can now move that production and house our imported finished goods which are gonna be coming in,” he disclosed.

Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner Stewart Beckford, officer in charge of the Jamaica Fire Brigade’s Area 3 – St Catherine, Clarendon and Manchester described the blaze as one of the most challenging in a long time. A shortage of water, compounded by the combination of flammable material – thousands of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, foam and refrigerants and strong gusty winds made the firefighters’ job much harder.

“We have not seen anything like this in a very long time - the size, magnitude and so on. We still continue to have issues with water and have requested the NWC (National Water Commission) to send back their tanks to assist,” the senior firefighter admitted.

Beckford paid tribute to members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade commending their commitment under very trying circumstances, as well the other agencies which provided invaluable support services. These include the Jamaica Defence Force, NWC, D.T. Brown Construction and other private contractors. The Spanish Town Fire Station received the call at 4:06 Thursday afternoon and the Waterford Fire Station which is nearest responded and sounded the alarm for additional resources.