A company running a poultry related business, Ross Breeders Botswana has dismissed over 100 employees after they allegedly embarked on an unprotected industrial strike.
The massive dismissals were triggered by employees’ decision to petition management over what they termed promised bonuses by the management.
Managing director of Ross Breeders Allen Bradford has confirmed to The Telegraph this week that last week dozens of employees were dismissed from duty after being involved in an illegal strike.
“At the moment I do not have the figures of those who have already been dismissed but the number is huge indeed,” he said.
He stated that the main reason why the company decided to dismiss some of the staff was that they kidnapped one of the managers resulting in a violent strike.
“One of the senior managers was allegedly kidnapped by the staff members who were on strike demanding bonuses,” he said.
He stated the company then invited the police to come and intervene as the situation was characterized by violence.
When asked whether there was any damage to property, he replied that “fortunately nothing was probably damaged and no one was injured among the two parties.”
“Because of the behaviour exhibited by some of the staff members the company was left with no option but to dismiss all those who were involved in the violent strike,” said Bradford.
He added that the employees could not have been dismissed if they could have engaged the management in a respectful manner.
Kgopolo Tshikare of Botswana Commercial and General Workers Union (BCGWU) confirmed that 108 employees of Ross Breeders were fired from work which he described as an “unlawful act”.
He added that among those dismissed, 82 were from Ross Breeders while a further 26 employees were from another chicken farm in Molepolole.
“It is unbelievable that such huge numbers of people have been dismissed in Botswana and the numbers are likely to rise,” he said.
Tshikare dismissed allegations leveled by the company that the staff members were involved in a violent strike.
“Employees had never been involved in a violent strike and this is one of the tactics that the company wants to use to build up their case and that is not acceptable at all,” he said.
Tshikare explained that last December the company issued some letters to the employees informing them that they will receive their annual bonuses the following year in September. He said employees were motivated by the company’s initiative and the union was also pleased with such an initiative.
To their surprise the employer did not to deliver on the promise that was initiated by the company and the staff then tried to engage the management on the promise that was initially made to the workers.
“What hurts most is the fact that some staff members were then called for the disciplinary hearing that ultimately led to their dismissal,” he said.
He indicated that union has informed the office of the area MP Tshenolo Mabo who happens to be the minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Tshenolo Mabeo about the matter.
Thamaga police station commander superintendent Moses Kwarari has denied reports that suggest that police officers were called to intervene in Ross Breeders matter.
“My station has never received or attended any report from the said company as it falls under my policing area,” he said.