Employees of De Beers Prospecting are caught in a retrenchment battle with the company’s management. This week, the management of De-Beers Prospecting is alleged to have given some of its employees letters of retrenchment after announcing in an emergency meeting the company’s plan to reduce the number of its workers.
The first victims in the retrenchment exercise were the company’s laboratory workers who specialize in testing and assessing soils with diamond deposits.
Fifteen of the workers were told that February would be their last month at the company. The company’s retrenchment is starting with laboratory workers before turning the gun onto field officers, mostly geologists who roam the country in search of diamond deposits, soils and potential mining sites.
One of the employees of De Beers Prospecting, who did not want his name revealed, said that the company’s management was strategically getting rid off Batswana to create space for South Africans, as the Company’s laboratory in South Africa is reported to have closed down.
“They want to ship their South African man power here and live us stranded,” he said
Deputy National Chairman of the Botswana Miners Worker’s Union, Golekanye Mogende, criticized the retrenchments saying that there were unfair and baseless. Speaking to The Sunday Standard, Mogende indicated that it came as a shock to learn about the retrenchments.
“I was so surprised about the said retrenchment exercise because you can’t just retrench when you are doing well financially,” he said. “Normally, companies retrench when they are not performing well or cutting wage bills.”
Mogende said that management was cagey with information and he wondered what the motives for trying to keep the union out were.
Mogende also condemned the company for failing to contact the people involved and the union.
“People should be contacted and management could have contacted the union earlier,” he said.
Whenever there is a retrenchment, he said, it always hits the lowly paid. Efforts to reach the company’s management were futile as they were reported to be in a meeting.