The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Seretse, this week finds himself with his back against the wall as BTC board members and the Minister of Science, Technology and Communications, Pelonomi Venson, turn their noses up at his planned retrenchment exercise.
Plans by BTC to retrench 25 % of its staff complement are meeting resistance from some board members, minister Venson and the workers’ union.
Responding to questions from The Sunday Standard, BTC Head of Corporate Affairs and Public Relations, James Molosankwe, said, “The Corporation is aiming at reducing its staff by 25% and it is anticipated that the affected employees will start exiting the corporation by the end of February 2008.”
Although BTC management has already reached an agreement with National Amalgamated Local and Central Government (NALCG), the corporation is failing to reach an agreement with the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU).
BOPEU, which is opposing the retrenchment, has taken up the issue with the BTC board and Minister Venson.
The Sunday Standard can reveal that the BTC board and Minister Venson have distanced themselves from the exercise and are querying why the BTC management went ahead with the exercise before consulting the board and the minister.
It is understood that the board has even quizzed BTC Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Seretse, about where he got the mandate to negotiate the staff exit package.
The situation is further complicated by a document that is currently being circulated suggesting that although the corporation is retrenching staff it is also planning hefty salary increases. The document, which is believed to have originated from inside BTC, envisages a more than 50% salary increase for the CEO with a remuneration package and perks toping P1 million a year.
The BTC has, however, disowned the document which proposes hefty salary increases for the corporation’s bosses. In a written response to a Sunday Standard questionnaire, Molosankwe stated that “like any other commercial organization which operates in a competitive environment, BTC has to compete for resources in the open market. It is therefore imperative that the organization has the requisite human capital with the necessary skills and competencies to deliver the business strategy. Key to this is attraction, motivation and retention of such key skills and therefore the need to have a comprehensive reward policy and strategy in place.
“We are not privy to the existence of any special proposal for salary increases for any employee. The document that The Sunday Standard alleges to have in its possession, whatever the source, is not an official BTC document and we have no association with it.”