Mmegi Online :: Govít denies BCL retrenchment package claims
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Last Updated
Monday 19 November 2018, 13:52 pm.
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Govít denies BCL retrenchment package claims

The assistant Minister of Health and Wellness Phillip Makgalemele has dismissed claims that the government, BCL employees and management agreed to give employees 12 months retrenchment packages.
By Nnasaretha Kgamanyane Fri 09 Feb 2018, 13:07 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Govít denies BCL retrenchment package claims








Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security at the on-going Parliament session on Tuesday, Makgalemele said that there have never been funds budgeted to pay 12 months retrenchment packages for BCL employees. He added that there were no such agreements entered into between management, employees and the government.

“Government only provided funding for the liquidation process, which included terminal benefits for employees entitled under liquidation, and the running cost of liquidation. Government acquired the employee claims whereby each employee ceded their claim in return for payment.

The former employees signed compromise agreements that ceded any claims they had against the estate and whose terms stipulated that payment made was in full and final settlement of all their claims against the estate,” he said. 

Makgalemele further explained that the government released funds for financing the BCL liquidation. He said they were used to pay terminal benefits and running costs of liquidation. He added that no funds were diverted as assumed by the Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa who asked the minister to tell the House what informed government’s decision to divert such funds from initial plan.

Nkaigwa also asked the minister what the government was doing to offer counselling services to such employees. However, Makgalemele pointed out that the government provided psychosocial assistance through professionals in the area.

He stated that after the liquidation of the Mine, there were four teams of 20 social workers who were deployed to specifically deal with those affected. “Former employees and their family members who may wish to access psychosocial services continue to be assisted through existing government programmes,”

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he said.

He added that BCL employees were terminated as a result of the liquidation. He said they had a claim against BCL for their terminal benefits in accordance with the Insolvency Act and section 91A of the Employment Act, which states that in the event of an employer’s insolvency, an employee’s claims arising out of his employment shall be payable out of the assets of the insolvent employer before non-privileged creditors are paid their shares.

Makgalemele said the protection referred to in subsection (1) should extend to the following claims:

(a) The employee’s claims for wages up to three months prior to the insolvency or to the termination of employment;

(b) The employee’s claims for payment as a result of work performed during holidays within a period of twenty-four months prior to the insolvency or termination of employment;

(c) the employee’s claims for any amount due to him in respect of other types of paid absence for a period not less than three months prior to the insolvency or to the termination of employment; and

(d) such severance benefits or other terminal benefits as the employee is entitled to.

He said the employee contracts were not terminated as contemplated by section 25 of the Employment Act, which refers to redundancy so there is no legal basis for the employees to be paid under that provision.

“As the contracts of employment were terminated as a result of the insolvency of BCL the objectives and the terms of the Retrenchment Agreement between BCL and Botswana Mine Workers Union are not applicable. Therefore no monies were legally due to the employees in terms of this agreement.”

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