Monday, June 1, 2020

AIR BOTSWANA TO FLY LIGHT

Air Botswana employees fear job losses after management of the ailing airline informed them of intentions to scale down.

The national carrier is going ahead with another retrenchment hardly two years after 100 jobs were slashed anyway.

The management revealed to employees that a looming retrenchment at Air Botswana which has been linked to the arrival of Qatar Airways and Uganda Airline which is a direct competitor.

The Air Botswana board has vehemently denied the looming retrenchment to the arrival of the two airlines arguing that the looming retrenchment was an ongoing exercise that started in 2016.

The Sunday Standard is reliably informed that the employees have objected to the employers’ announcement arguing that  the retrenchment had long ceased to exist after the airline aborted it in 2017.

According to sources the employees have dismissed the suggestions that the arrival of Qatar Airways and Uganda Airways which is a competitor was the reason behind the looming retrenchment. Some employees have linked the retrenchment at the airline to a vote of no confidence on the management of the airline.

Sources further revealed that employees are worried that the management is linking the retrenchments to two airlines when the airlines have not even started operating.

The Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information that a vote of no confidence on the management of the insolvent Air Botswana which was handed to the Transport and Communication Minister, Makgatho.

When contacted for comment Makgatho denied to have ever received a “Vote of no confidence against the management of the airline that was delivered to her office and acknowledged in May this year. Some of the grievances that employees were concerned about the organisational restructuring in 2016 where more than 100 employees were shown the door.

Air Botswana Board, Chairman , Retired General Tebogo Masire argued  contrary to employees assertion that the 2016 restructuring at the national airline seized to exist after  the exercise was completed in 2017.

Masire’s argument that that there was nothing new since the exercise was put on hold due to lack of finance.

Masire was of the view that the employees “Vote of no confidence” against the management had misled themselves in believing that the looming retrenchment was a new thing arguing that it was an ongoing process that came to a halt in 2016.

Masire indicated that that the issue of retrenchment had nothing to do with the arrival of two airlines when quizzed whether the move was not jeopardising President Mokgweetsi Masisi move to bring investors in Botswana.

He defended the decision of Air Botswana management for employing people after the retrenchment arguing that it does not necessarily mean that the airline should not employ after retrenchment.

Masire indicated that the Airline was retrenching since they wanted to do away with some of the careers that were no longer relevant to the operation of the business.

Masire stated that he was not aware about the contents of Vote of no confidence against the management of the airline but knew that the letter existed.

Transport and Communication Ministry, Permanent Secretary, Alicia Mokone also was not aware about a letter that employees want the minister to act on Air Botswana Management. Mokone promised to make a follow up on a vote of no confidence on the management of Air Botswana.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.