Friday, March 31, 2023

Curtain falls on BTC employees as restructuring starts in earnest

The curtain is finally falling on scores of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) employees as the parastatal embarks on a controversial restructuring exercise ahead of privatization.

The corporation and the employees’ union (Botswana Telecommunications Employees Union) agreed at the beginning of the month (October) that all employees who will not be absorbed in the new structure after a three month period will be paid an exit package.

The memo to the employees dated 9th October, 2013 and signed by the corporation and union representatives, spells out the modalities on the execution of the restructuring exercise.

Joy-Marie Marebole, the corporation’s General Manager (Support Services and Human Relations) signed on behalf of the parastatal while the union was represented by its president Verstapen Lesole. The signing was witnessed to by Keamogetse Mubu (Head of Employee Relations) and the union’s vice-president Ofentse Nkwane (BOTEU vice-president).

The parties agreed on joint presentations to deploy the Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) to colleagues.

True to earlier apprehension by some that some employees will be directly placed while others are interviewed for certain vacancies within the new structure, the memo confirms direct placement of colleagues on Band 6 ÔÇô 9 on roles that are mapped to the “to be” structure, to minimize risk of deployment.

The Memo further suggests “Ring-fencing” of available/new roles for colleagues at Band 6ÔÇô 9 where there is excess capacity or where roles do not exist.

The management says this is meant to minimize risk of displacement due to limited available roles at this level.

“These employees are to be assessed on three roles including the primary role and two secondary roles from the pool of available/new roles”.

It is also stated that in case the employee is unsuccessful in the three roles applied for, he/she will be allowed three months to search for a role across the company.

During this time the employee will be assisted and provided with alternative suitable role, he/she shall be retrenched and become eligible for an exit package. Similarly, employees will be accorded the opportunity to exit during the 3 months, if an alternative suitable role has not been identified during the three months job search.

While some employees stand to be shown the door during the implementation of the exercise, potential exists for new vacancies as the agreement states that post placement, all excess roles will be advertised internally prior to external advertisements.

It has also been agreed that support interventions to alleviate hardships will include individual counselling.

“We have always known that the exercise amounted to a retrenchment. We were only worried that the corporation wanted to do it in such a manner that we would have left empty handed. For as long as there is an exit package, we are happy,” said an employee who is not interested in any role that he may be assigned in the new structure as he has already made up his mind to quit.

Ironically, the corporation had initially explained that more opportunities were to unfold in the new structure but it now turns out that in fact the whole exercise is a retrenchment that was disguised under the convergence scheme.


Read this week's paper