BFTU position on the current wave of retrenchments and closures

The Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) would like to raise a concern on the spate of company closures and retrenchments that are becoming characteristic of our economy in recent months.

We recall that last year at least two manufacturing companies, two diamond polishing companies and one mining company have closed down for various reasons. Over and above that we have a number of companies that have retrenched employees and some are threatening to do so. As a result of these actions hundreds of workers have lost their jobs and more face prospects of job loss and, consequently their sources of income.

This situation of closures and retrenchments is very worrisome and should be treated as a national crisis and not just a problem for retrenched workers and normal business cycle company closures. Retrenched workers join the ever increasing numbers of the unemployed. Their households are negatively affected as they lose their sources of income. They become the burden of the state either for support through social safety nets which are not as robust as those found in other developing countries with unemployment insurance.  Workers lose their dignity as they, overnight, turn into paupers. Some lose properties such as housing paid through mortgages, while some lose household effects to furniture shops. Some are evicted from rented accommodation. Job losses also affect economic output in the long run.

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