One of the oldest publishing companies in Botswana, Macmillan Botswana, is retrenching an undisclosed number of its staff members.
The company’s Human Resources Manager, Marina Coetzee, recently informed company employees through letters about the availability of voluntary retrenchment application forms in the premises and that they should be filled out and submitted to Felicity Leburu Sianga, the Public relations officer, before 9.30 Monday 25 May, 2009.
Sources in the company say that it is the first time they heard about the company’s intention to retrench and that they were greatly surprised to hear about it.
”This greatly surprised us. We had not expected it as we thought we were on the right business track and making business. This because we were given bonuses in December just five months ago,” said a source in the company.
He further said that the company’s headquarters in South Africa had not given them reasons for their decision to retrench and they say they did not even consult the employees before taking such a drastic decision.
The source said that in the past, they had, together with the management, identified some measures that they thought could be taken to cut costs of running the company but that they were not even told whether or not those measures had worked.
The source also said that the same company had 18 months ago retrenched some of its staff members and that they were again not told the reasons for retrenchment just like is the case now.
This, the source says, is happening despite the fact that the Government of Botswana has already placed millions worth of orders for school text books which he says makes them wonder if the whole plan is to close the Botswana office then serve the country from South Africa, where the company is not doing as well as the Botswana office in terms of business.
”When we consider the amount of business the company is making from Botswana government in terms of textbooks which runs into millions of pula, and the decision to continuously retrench staff members, our only conclusion is that the company wants to close down the office in Botswana,” said the source.
The source also disclosed that the company had in the past outsourced their warehouse in what they were told was a bid to cut costs and that they were then not told if that measure had also failed.
He said that more hurting was the fact that all labour laws of the country were not followed during the exercise.
All attempts to talk to the company’s Managing Director, John Keddle in South Africa, were futile.