At least 30 Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) employees have lost their jobs following the government’s privatisation exercise.
As part of its privatisation exercise, government recently decided to outsource or contract out selected services provided by its departments and Ministries to the private sector. The affected employees at BCA were served with letters last month notifying them of the college’s intention to terminate their contracts. The letter dated 25 February states in part that “notice is hereby given that your service with BCA will terminate on 31st March 2014. This follows the subsequent consultation between management and the union.”
Some of the affected employees are from the catering section. Information passed to this publication indicates that the affected employees believe that the college should have adopted “a voluntary exit strategy” as they were not ready for retrenchment. At a meeting held late last year, the BCA management told the affected employees that the college was engaging the government on the issue of their exit packages.
“But since then we have not been told if the request for the money for the exit packages bore fruit or not. We only received correspondence notifying us of the college’s decision to terminate our contracts,” said one of the affected employees. The affected employee added that apart from the meeting to brief them on the impending retrenchment, they were not consulted extensively.
“Issues of how we are going to vacate the staff houses or receive terminal benefits were not communicated to us. If it was communicated to our union then the union failed to address us on the issue and we are really worried by this retrenchment,” said the employee. Manual Workers Union Organising Secretary Johnson Motshwarakgole confirmed that they had a meeting on Friday on the negotiations of exit packages for the affected employees. “We will continue with the negotiations on Tuesday next week,” he said. He denied as untrue claims the employees were not consulted. “They were consulted. What should have been done is counselling and that is why it seems people are crying foul that they were not consulted,” he said.