BMWU query outsourcing of mining operations

FRANCISTWON: Vexed senior officials from the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) will meet the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila on Monday to express their concerns on how the country’s mining industry is run.

BMWU general secretary Bob Malele confirmed the meeting with the minister, yesterday.

“We are optimistic that through constant interactions with the ministry and other stakeholders there will be a solution to the problems besieging the mining industry,” Malele said. He added that informing the minister of their challenges might influence policy change to meet the needs of the mining sector.

Malele further said mines around the country have outsourced their mining operations, which had worked to the miners’ detriment. “Most of the mines around the country are given licenses to do their mining but they subcontract other companies. We are against subcontracting because the companies subcontracted usually offer locals short-term contracts, which do not guarantee job security,” he said. He added that lack of job security had greatly affected employees’ morale.

“We are also worried that we cannot enter into long term agreements regarding our members’ welfare. Some of these companies end up leaving before our agreements are initiated as they work on short term contracts,” he said. Malele insisted that some of the subcontracted companies pushed around employees.

Mines on the other hand have stated that it was cost effective to subcontract companies to do their mining. Local mines had in recent years roped in different companies to do their mining work despite the unions’ disapproval.   Mines that ditched doing their own mining in favour of subcontracting include the country’s sole gold miner Galane Gold, which engaged G&S two years ago. Over 70 employees at Galane Gold lost their jobs as a result of the exercise.

Tati Nickel Mining Company’s mining activities are also handled by a South African company Moolman’s Avenge mining.

When queried about the proposed BMWU meeting and the issues purportedly affecting the mineworkers, Mokwaila was non-committal in his response. “I think they (union) are right we have a meeting. I can’t say much because I haven’t been briefed on the meeting, I am yet to check my diary,’ he said.

Editor's Comment
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Nowadays it is not uncommon to purchase an item for a certain commodity and return to the shops in a week, to find the same item has gone up by a significant amount of money.Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) last week announced yet another fuel price increase, which follows yet another increase that came into effect on March 29. Hardly two months later on May 12 boom, BERA announced yet another increase, which came into effect at a...

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