The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) employees through their union – Botswana Telecommunications Employees Union (BOTEU) are threatening to take the company to court after it failed to meet the deadline of completion of a realignment exercise.
After listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange in 2016, BTC reinvented its business model and embarked on a realignment process to change its way of doing business. This however backfired as it led to low morale as employees fear they may lose their job.
Information reaching The Telegragh is that in May 2018, employees were given notification letters and since then, the management is silent regarding the matter.
Some employees to date have not been absorbed, while some were taken over to into the new structure of the organization and the expectation was to at least engage BOTEU on the exit packages.
“July was supposed to have been the deadline. As employees through our Union we may have to seek court interdiction in this matter. About 30 of other employee members are coming to work doing absolutely nothing, idling around but salaries are being paid,” said a close source to the developments.
Moreover to that, amongst these 30, one employee was advised to take garden leave and is being paid whilst staying at home.
The said employee is alleged to have been in a senior management position. Employees are worried that money which is being spent on non-working employees is being misused. They argue that these employees do not add value to the company at the moment, why the delay to negotiate exit packages at least for the best.
As shareholders of the company through the Employees Share Option Scheme, they feel the Anthony Masunga led management is mismanaging funds which could be diverted in something profitable.
It is alleged that the trade Union, BOTEU attempted to engage the Managing Director, Anthony Masunga but to no avail.
It is also understood that the Project Manager (Restructuring Exercise) recently resigned from BTC and the remaining team seem not to be sure of the direction to take. Her resignation has polarized the process to end the exercise, according to the complainants. Employees want this process closed as soon as possible. The exercise has also been marred by a lot of recruitments from outside.
In an interview with The Telegragh to clear the mist, the BTC MD, Anthony Masunga did not want to refer to this as a restructuring or retrenchment, saying the organization has been doing organizational realignment; where the company has been trying to absorb some of the employees to the new structure.
“Some will opt for packages, some will stay if they are right to fit in the new structure. We intent to treat these employees with dignity. We have tasked the team to close this matter in the next coming weeks and we continue to engage with the Union and we have also been engaging the affected people,” explained Masunga.
Although he could not disclose the monetary budget meant for the exit packages, Masunga could only confirm that “six from the 30 employees have been absorbed, whereas from the 24 left, some have come forth to volunteer for an exit and be given their packages. However, the company continues to absorb some.”
BOTEU Secretary General, Motlamedi Koloi, told The Telegragh that, it is true that the union has since engaged with Management in a restructuring exercise for some time and continues to.
Koloi added, “On whether we are taking the matter to court, we are not in a position to say as we continue with engagements and have the confidence that we may overcome the situation. It is however, important to note that staff morale is adversely affected because people must be clear of their fate.”
The company’s stock has been on the knockdown from year- to date, as BTCL crawls at the bottom list of the poor performing stocks in the Botswana Stock Exchange.
BTCL which is currently on a closed period awaiting for the financial results release in December, had in its full year results in March 2018, recording a revenue decline of 3% to P1.57 billion from P1.62 billion in 2017.