Thursday, October 22, 2020

Pula Steel closes plant due to Non-compliance

The embattled BCL through its subsidiary Pula Steel Company has temporarily closed its plant following failure to comply with Department of Waste Management and Pollution and Control regulations.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred. The plant was also forced to close down recently after some Indian operators downed tools as protest over their outstanding monthly salaries. Pula Steel Company Corporate Service Director, Brian Mosenene confirmed the incident saying the metal company was closed following non compliance to regulations of pollution control system.

”It is our plan that by the 30th June, everything would be rectified. It is only then that we shall call the Dept of waste inspection team to inspect and approve what we have corrected – we will then start doing production as usual. Our pollution control system was not working according to their compliance monitoring standard hence our closure to allow smooth correction of any irregularity to ensure that we comply with all issues of safety,” said Mosenene.

However, Mosenene could not disclose the amount of money the company is likely to lose as a result of the closure save to say 100 tonnes of production metal would be lost on a daily basis that the plant is shut. This past week, Pula Steel dismissed 8 Indian employees who were involved in a protracted dispute over monthly salaries and allegations of causing instability within the company.

Pula Steel Company Corporate Service Director, Brian Mosenene confirmed the incident saying the Labour Department had insured them that they had complied with labour laws and had never violated any conditions of service.

”The complainants were asked to produce their monthly payslips and it emerged during the hearing that they have been paid by their agency in India and their notice and terminal benefits would also be credited into their accounts by their agency which is People Map agency,” said Mosenene.

According to Mosenene, Pula Steel is currently training 8 locals to fill the positions left by the Indian nationals. He also revealed that they do not have a direct contract with the said employees but have a contract with People Map Agency that recruited 53 Indian experts. He said the 8 employees who were sent back to their country will soon be replaced by local personnel.

Although Mosenene initially said there were only two employees who were dismissed from work, the number increased after internal investigations showed that there were some ring leaders who influenced others to protest against the management.

One of the expelled, Anil Kumar, said management forced them to leave the country without any further hearing. In a text message on his way to the airport, Kumar revealed that he did not have any desire to have any lawyer representing him, but preferred to go back to India for security reasons.

”I don’t want to contact the Indian Embassy nor any lawyer, what i can tell you is that i’m happy to go back home. You, as the media, should visit Pula steel because there is too much corruption at the company and me and my colleagues were sent back for trying to expose such corrupt practices,” said Kumar.

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