Friday, May 14, 2021

BMWU ropes in expert to probe Debswana’s X-ray machine

The Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has enlisted an international health expert to establish the effects of scannex on its members who are also employees of a diamond mining giant, Debswana.  

The union’s resistance to Scannex x-ray machine stems from fears of potential long-term adverse effects on employees’ health emanating from prolonged exposure to radiation, BMWU has said.

It has since emerged that the diamond mining company is pressing ahead with plans to introduce Scannex X-ray body search machines at its diamond mines. The employees, through the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has expressed concern that they were not involved in the decision to roll out the project.

Speaking to this publication this week, the BMWU President Jack Tlhagale said through the assistance of their mother body, the Industrial Global Union based in Geneva, they managed to enlist the services of an international health scientist.    

Tlhagale said the health expert is expected to compile a dossier on the effects of the sanning machine.

The expert will produce a report. They are expected to arrive in October.

Tlhagale has said that both parties have a duty to protect their people from radiation rather than focusing on profit taking on the expense of employees. 

“The matter has been dragging on over the years with no positive outcomes. The Union will not give up until its proven otherwise by a health expert that the machine is not a health hazard to our members”, said the BMWU President.

Tlhagale said in an effort to find a long lasting solution, BMWU is still negotiating with Debswana on the issue. 

He said the Union and Debswana have to also agree on how best they can resolve the issue. He said they have since approached Debswana with a view to have the scientist conduct research on the machine. 

Tlhagale said the scannex matter is expected to be on top of the agenda at the Union’s elective congress which will be held sometime this month in Tlokweng.

Debswana has over the years been experiencing growing theft of the rough diamonds, with some parts of South Africa said to be awash with the stolen stones from Debswana mines. 

“As far as we are concerned, diamond theft cases in this country are minimal as evidenced by police reports and we believe that there is no need to introduce such a machine,” said Tlhagale. 

Efforts to contact Debswana were futile.

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