Thursday, October 29, 2020

Miners petition Ministers Moagi, Balopi

Workers in the mining industry have petitioned the Minister of Mineral Resources Green Technology Lefoko Moagi and his counterpart at the Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Patrick Balopi over what they describe as callous working conditions.

The executive board of Botswana Federation of Trade Unions, which is representing diamond workers, informed Moagi that they request a meeting “With yourself to discuss various issues affecting employees in the mineral resource sector under your ministry.”

“We have received harrowing reports of violations and flouting of workers from our affiliates in the diamond industry which are of great concern to us as a labour centre in Botswana,” stated BFTU secretary general Thusang Butale.

According to Butale, background documents on the above matters indicate that the same issues were brought to the attention of Moagi’s predecessors before from as early as 2008 and there has been no action from the ministry.  

But the precarious working conditions, Butale said, especially in the diamond polishing industry companies are escalating.

In yet another letter also dated 26 August 2020 addressed to Balopi, Butale stated that the leadership of the union sought to have a meeting with Balopi to discuss “the precarious working conditions of the private sector especially workers engaged in the diamond sector.”  

Butale noted that “we further wish to discuss issues pertaining to the convention 190 which was adopted by the International Labour Organisation in 2019 in the wake of the increase in the number of cases on the violence and harassment in the world of work as well as gender-based violence in Botswana.”

According to a report by Industrial Global Union, its affiliate, the Botswana Diamond Workers Union has recorded in excess 277 job losses in Botswana diamond cutting and polishing sector amid coronavirus.

The report states that cutting and polishing companies in Botswana have dismissed staff and the local union successfully challenged some retrenchments resulting in their reversal. Some cases are said to be before the industrial court while others are facing dubious disciplinary hearings. In some instances, the cutting and polishing diamond companies refuse to disclose the reasons behind the retrenchments, the report shows.By Khonani Ontebetse 

Workers in the mining industry have petitioned the Minister of Mineral Resources Green Technology Lefoko Moagi and his counterpart at the Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Patrick Balopi over what they describe as callous working conditions. 

The executive board of Botswana Federation of Trade Unions, which is representing diamond workers, informed Moagi that they request a meeting “With yourself to discuss various issues affecting employees in the mineral resource sector under your ministry.” 

“We have received harrowing reports of violations and flouting of workers from our affiliates in the diamond industry which are of great concern to us as a labour centre in Botswana,” stated BFTU secretary general Thusang Butale. 

According to Butale, background documents on the above matters indicate that the same issues were brought to the attention of Moagi’s predecessors before from as early as 2008 and there has been no action from the ministry.

But the precarious working conditions, Butale said, especially in the diamond polishing industry companies are escalating. 

In yet another letter also dated 26 August 2020 addressed to Balopi, Butale stated that the leadership of the union sought to have a meeting with Balopi to discuss “the precarious working conditions of the private sector especially workers engaged in the diamond sector.”  

Butale noted that “we further wish to discuss issues pertaining to the convention 190 which was adopted by the International Labour Organisation in 2019 in the wake of the increase in the number of cases on the violence and harassment in the world of work as well as gender-based violence in Botswana.” 

According to a report by Industrial Global Union, its affiliate, the Botswana Diamond Workers Union has recorded in excess 277 job losses in Botswana diamond cutting and polishing sector amid coronavirus. 

The report states that cutting and polishing companies in Botswana have dismissed staff and the local union successfully challenged some retrenchments resulting in their reversal. Some cases are said to be before the industrial court while others are facing dubious disciplinary hearings. In some instances, the cutting and polishing diamond companies refuse to disclose the reasons behind the retrenchments, the report shows.

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