FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) says some Danoher Botswana (Pty) Ltd employees inherited by the firm when it fully acquired PPC Aggregate Quarries Botswana shares have agreed to a voluntary separation.
Two months ago, Competition and Consumer Authority (CCA) ruled that there should be no job losses when PPC Aggregate sell its ownership to Danoher.
However, Danoher was not prevented from implementing voluntary retrenchment or separation arrangements. The company was also given the liberty to part ways with employees who unreasonably refused to be redeployed as well as allowing resignations and retirements in the ordinary course of business.
The ruling by the CCA was made after BMWU raised fears of massive job losses when the purchase agreement between Danoher and PPC has been completed. This week BWMU executive secretary, Kitso Phiri revealed that some employees have since agreed to voluntary separation following a proposal tabled by Danoher.
Phiri indicated that Danoher management claims that according to their assessment of the business, they only have 22 months to operate Kgale Quarries as its mining licence expires in 2023.
He averred that because of a licence that is about to expire Danoher executives tabled a turnaround strategy of their aggregate business, which amongst others featured selling the idea of voluntary separation with some workers.
“To ensure business sustainability, they resorted to right-sizing their operations by affording employees an opportunity to leave the business with a package,” Phiri said.
“Danoher made a voluntary separation proposal to the union for voluntary separation, which the union negotiated and agreed terms for employees falling within the bargaining unit.”
The executive secretary stated that employees at both the Francistown and Gaborone operations have been affected.
“The first batch of employees (more than 20) have gone, most of whom are union members,” he highlighted.
The employees left during the first week of November. On a lower note, the BMWU executive secretary said that exit medical assessments have not been conducted for employees who recently left, although medical assessment is a legal requirement that ought to have been prioritised.
Although Danoher group human resources manager, Christelle Esterhuizen was not available for comment, sources have said that on Friday the company started calling some employees (who recently left) to come and conduct exit medicals.
Sources claim that the delay in conducting the medicals was caused by the fact that the company was still trying to find cheaper options where it can conduct medicals.
Phiri said that the union is not certain as to whether the remaining employees will be allowed to organise or if issues of recognition will not crop up as is the case with the company’s South African operations.