The Orange Botswana Employee Committee has written to the Commissioner of Labour to instruct Orange Botswana to stop what the committee termed ‘retrenchment process pending mediation’.
Orange has subsequently been summoned for mediation on August 27, 2014.
According to Employee committee representative, Monthusi Debele, Orange Botswana held a series of consultation meetings with the employees mainly to discuss the model of separation as Orange Botswana is outsourcing some of its IT services to Ericsson and a parallel commercial discussion is ongoing with the outsourcer (Ericsson).
Employees said they were surprised that after a series of meetings with the Orange management, they were presented with a proposal for retrenchment packages and how the company (Orange) bench marked with companies which carried out the retrenchment.
The employees viewed the move as a preparation for retrenchment. Debele said all along the management emphasized that there would be no job loses but on April 30 Orange Botswana displayed three models of separation as follows: transfer to the outsourcer ‘Like for like’ meaning that the same packages and years worked would be transferred to the outsourcer; termination & mandatory rehire, i.e. Orange guarantees jobs with the outsourcer and employees negotiate packages and lastly to terminate contracts and┬áthe employees would have to find themselves new jobs, either elsewhere or with the outsourcer, in this case the outsourcer chooses who to hire.
┬á“However Orange management showed that they preferred the full transfer model. Employees suggested to management to consider options for the other model as some employees may not be interested in to going to the outsourcer.┬áOn 22nd of May the CEO wrote to all ITN staff inviting them to come up with suggestion on how to avert this project and that the dead line was 2nd of June and was extended to 4th of June after employees queried of the short notice,” said Debele.
┬áHe added that “It was in this meeting that the CEO agreed to request of Employee representative committee. On the 2nd June the employees wrote a letter on why they could come up with alternatives as they felt it was too late for such suggestions and hence would most likely taken into consideration as perceived as a way of satisfying the process of retrenchment, this letter was never responded to,” said Debele.
┬áAccording to the information that The Telegraph has, on the 18th July 2014 there was yet another meeting where the CEO offered a package of five working days of each year worked. The employee’s representative committee vehemently did not agree and declared a dispute.
On the 24th July employees were invited to an Ericsson tell day where Ericsson was to present who they were, “to our surprise offer letters were given and were supposed to be signed by today ┬á(4th of August) pending which employment will be redundant. We did explain to Ericsson that we were still having an issue with Orange and the Human Resource manager confirmed that indeed they are still having discussion with the representative committee. Ericsson sounded surprised as they said they were made to believe that Orange has finalised everything with the employees, however they said they have an obligation to deliver the contract with Orange, hence they would recruit somewhere else if we do not sign the offers,” said Debele.
Asked to comment, Orange Botswana Public Relations Manager, Boga Chilinde said she needed to familiarize herself with the matter and promised to get back to this publication as soon as possible.
However by end of business yesterday Chilinde had not yet responded.