Employees of Harness Manufacturing Botswana, a company that manufactures vehicle bodies and harnesses for export, downed tools at the end of the week demanding a wage increase.
The industrial action was started by the Night Shift group on Thursday night and was later joined by their Day Shift colleagues.
Onalenna Tlhobogang, one of the employees, told Sunday Standard in an interview, “Since the national budget announcing inflationary adjustments to civil service salaries in April, none of our managers has ever come to us to explain what they have in mind for us.”
Tlhobogang lamented that prices for taxis and other commodities in the shops have gone up, and that the land lords have also raised the rental fees so much that life is getting tougher everyday.
Another employee, Masego Molokwe, stated that, “to make matters worse, a slight mistake like reporting for work 2 minutes late is punishable by deduction from salary an amount worth more than a day’s wage.”
Goitse Ramotsietsane, one of the employees cautioned that they will be keeping track of the Management’s response. “This was not necessarily the result of any deliberate discussion; it started with the night group and naturally caught up with the Day shift just because of our shared predicament.”
However, he said it is generally agreed that a decision will have to be arrived at on what next but only “if we don’t get any positive action from our bosses”.
When contacted for comment, the HMB General Manager, Gladson Pilane, declined to comment, saying that he was busy, citing meetings with employees.
On his part, an Industrial Relations Officer in the Department of Labour at the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs had this to say, “We are not aware of the development, and it would, therefore, not be in the interest of good industrial relations for us to comment until we have concrete information.”
Although Ditau indicated that they had not heard from either the HMB employees or the Management, he could not say whether they would wait or find out about the situation.