The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation management is reluctant to say what they intend to do following the breakdown of mediation between the Corporation and the Botswana Telecommunications Union members which was carried out by the Commissioner of Labour, Claude Mojafi.
The mediation, held early this month, was aimed at reaching an agreement on the retrenchment packages for those who will be laid off.
All that James Molosankwe, the BTC’s Public Relations officer, could say when asked what they were planning to do regarding the issue was that “we will come back to you”. It has been two weeks since he said that.
The Union has apparently refused the management’s previous offer because Union Vice President, Anthony Kebalefile, said they view it as “unfair” to them.
Kebalefile has even threatened that they would take the matter to the Industrial Court if they feel that would bring the desired results.
The other employees of the Corporation, the manual workers cadres, have agreed on the offer they were given by the Corporation and this week the General Secretary of the National Amalgamated Local, Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union, Johnson Motshwarakgole, said that he hoped that his members would get their benefits before Christmas.
“I expect them to be paid before we go for the Christmas holidays. The management of the Corporation has promised me that,” he said.
On why they accepted the package which is viewed as insufficient by the leaders of BOTEU, Motshwarakgole said that they thought refusing to take the offer would only make their members suffer more and that they viewed it as a better offer because it was increased from what those who left in the early 90s were offered.
Sources say the BTC wants to retrench close to 500 people from a number of 1,200 of its employees, in line with their policy of restructuring the Corporation.
Sources say the management of the Corporation is claiming that it has over employed, a fact denied by the Union which says there is no evidence for that on record, claiming that they had not been shown the evidence to support that.
The Union says the retrenchment is only aimed at preparing the Corporation for privitasation as the government has long proposed to do with parastatals.
Sources in the Corporation claim that morale amongst the employees is at an all time low because of the uncertainty of their future.
“People are uncertain about their future and you can not expect them to be working hard when their future is not certain,” said one employee of the Corporation.