FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Power Corporation Workers Union (BPCWU) leadership says a dark cloud of uncertainty hangs over the heads of workers as BPC management warns of the impending closure of the Morupule A power station.
However BPC management says closing Morupule A power station is not being considered. "At this stage, we are not at liberty to discuss the issue at Morupule A power station," BPC marketing and communications manager, Spencer Moreri told The Monitor in an interview.
He said they were still in the process of consulting all relevant stakeholders. "But, what we want to emphasise at this stage is that we are not considering closing Morupule A power station as some of our stakeholders suggest," Moreri stated.
He however, emphasised, "We would respect any future options that stakeholders may find viable and in the best interest of the BPC group and employees after careful consideration." However BPCWU secretary general, Bohithetswe Lentswe told The Monitor in an interview, "We have been informed as the leaders of the trade union that Morupule A power station is destined to close and this will result in an undisclosed number of job losses."
Morupule A power station currently has over 300 employees and it remains unclear how many workers will be absorbed into the BPC system and how many will not. Lentswe indicated that originally, the exercise marking the Morupule A closure was intended to take effect on July 1 but BPC management has since varied the commencement of the exercise to August 1.
"It has not been stated exactly how many people are going to be affected by the decision of the BPC management especially on jobs. But, logically, people are going to be affected," he warned.
He said they have been warned some employees will be redeployed within the BPC group whilst others, he feared will definitely lose their jobs. "As the trade union leaders we have demanded a comprehensive report from BPC management detailing exactly what BPC wants to do and how the decision will affect us," he explained.
The BPCWU secretary general also indicated that BPC management has put options on the table. The power supplying corporation Lentswe said, has given workers three options of de-commissioning the power station and pulling it down or mothballing the station which will mean leaving the power station to just stay without using it.
Thirdly, the BPC management could opt for" care and maintenance," which would restore the power station's capability to produce and supply the 120 megawatts it has been offering. Lentswe was frustrated by the reality that already the Morupule B power station has employed its own workers which heightens fears of job losses.
"Redeploying staff to Morupule B will not really be a viable option because the Chinese team that constructed the plant will be stationed there for about three years as detailed in their contract," he said worriedly. "Morale is terribly low at the Morupule A power station as we speak because workers are not sure whether they will have their jobs come August," said Lentswe wishing that a final decision could be made now to ease pressure on the workers.