Saturday, October 31, 2020

More Debswana employees face the axe on new downsizing exercise

Debswana, the country’s biggest employer after government, will carry out a retrenchment exercise through its Organisational Alignment Project (OAP).

No Debswana operation will be spared from facing the axe. The move will affect the company’s employees at all its operations countrywide, Debswana Head-office, Orapa and Letlhakane mine, Jwaneng mine, Debswana projects as well as Debswana shared services.

“In March 2011, the Debswana Managing Director, Jim Gowans, embarked on a face to face consultation with all employees across the company to communicate the new strategy,” Debswana’s Group manager for Public and Corporate Affairs, Ester Kanaimba-Senai said.

The Development comes about regardless of a statement on analysis by industry experts and the De Beers Group findings in its Operations and Financial Review 2010, in which it was revealed that market conditions for diamonds had improved significantly due to the demand for rough diamonds.
There has been no indication as to how many employees are expected to lose their jobs.

The company describes the OAP as part of the ‘Debswana High Performance Organisation strategy, whose intention is to transform the company to global benchmark performance by 2013 and beyond.’
The OAP supposedly entails optimising the company’s processes, structures, headcount support/core mix, spans of control and management operating systems.

According to the Group manager for the retrenched employees, the company will offer emotional and financial counseling.

“Debswana continues to invest in training its employees across various disciplines of the business to enhance their careers during their time with the company and beyond,” Kanaimba-Senai said.
Under Blackie Marole’s leadership, in 2010, Debswana embarked on an initiative, dubbed ‘operations Review Project’ (ORP), which was the subject of union grievances for months on end.

At the end of the review, an estimated record number of 1278 employees were expected to lose their jobs.

The Secretary General of the Botswana Mine Workers union BMWU, Jack Tlhagale, had then said that the union suspected that the numbers were to rise because of the privatisation and outsourcing of Debswana services.

By January 2011, the ‘company transforming model’ had seen about 600 lose their jobs, with 687 left to suffer the same outcome this year.

At the end of the 2010 year, Marole announced his resignation as Managing Director of Debswana and Canadian Jim Gowans was roped in. It was in the same year that the BMWU bought up issues of delocalization of top posts, after Dr Adrian Gale took over as General Manager at Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines (OLM).

Kanaimba said that the ORP made improvements in certain areas of the company’s business, but a recently concluded Business Review exercise revealed that there were still opportunities to be explored in order to realize the company’s vision of becoming a global benchmark diamond business.
“These opportunities include improvements in safety, cost performance, asset utilisation and overall productivity,” said Kanaimba-Senai.

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