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PASDEC in coronavirus exposure allegations

PAULINE DIKUELO
PASDEC in coronavirus exposure allegations
PASDEC Automotive Technologies Plant in Lobatse is alleged to be currently putting its employees at risk of contracting the deadly Coronavirus.

The allegations come after the company brushed off its employees’ plea to get them hand sanitisers, clinical masks and gloves as some of the safety measures put in place to prevent the spread of deadly virus, it has emerged.

With staff complement of 600, PASDEC manufactures automotive wiring harness for globally leading vehicle brands such as Nissan and Volkswagen.

Workers, who are mostly in production feel their lives are exposed to the virus as they are expected to continue standing elbow-to-elbow in production lines and clocking in with finger print scanners without sanitising.

As much as workers are afraid to work, they also cannot afford to stay home as they are paid hourly, sources said.

Mmegi has learnt that ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus, only the management of the company has been given clinical masks, hand sanitisers and gloves whilst the others are forced to work without such protective items.

“We fear for our lives because we have been urging the company management to supply us with them as per the government’s plea.

Instead we have been told that if we do not want to work we should go home,” said a source within the company.

Exposure risk to the virus may be elevated for workers who interact with potentially

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infected individuals as spread of person to person is mostly likely among close contact.

As some companies shut down, low wage -workers continue to go to work as they are paid on hourly basis.  Meanwhile, PASDEC plant manager Bafana Phiri refused to talk to this publication. Yesterday, workers could not be allowed entry into the building when reporting for duty.

“When we got to the office yesterday morning, we found the offices locked and no communication was made. Only team leaders and supervisors were allowed into the premises,” said a source within the organisation.

In order to prevent the transmission and spread of coronavirus in Botswana, government has suspended public gatherings of more than 100 people encouraging people to maintain distance of one to two metres between individual persons and a maximum of 50 individuals everywhere.

Ensuring easy access to hand cleaning with water and soap is also a requirement.

Over the past years, the company has been in loggerheads with its employees regarding the employees’ welfare, which include among others low wages, overtime back pays and health issues within the plant.

Botswana Development Corporation has invested P52.1 million equity in the venture, with jobs expected to rise to 800 at the Lobatse plant in the coming years.



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