Unions have threatened to organize mass demonstrations to disrupt government decision to retrench some 800 employees who fell victim to a restructuring that saw Water Utilities Corporation take over previous mandates of Water Affairs and the Water Unit at local levels.
The Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources announced this week that employees not so absorbed will leave the public service.
Botswana Land Board and Local Authorities Workers Union (BLLAWU) have strongly objected to the decision.
BLLAWU, Secretary General, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, condemned the decision by government, noting that ideally the unions had advised the government to safeguard the employees’ jobs.
Motshegwa stated that the government promised them during the consultation stages that employees who were working in Local Government and Department of Water Affairs were not going to lose their jobs when WUC took over water supply and wastewater management.┬á
“We reached a consensus during the consultations that the government should absorb employees who have been working for these departments. We are surprised that the government is going against the initial agreement that was agreed upon. Unions felt that the government should save employees jobs but we are surprised that they are going against the idea and they continue down-sizing,” said Motshegwa.
He was worried that the government continues to disrespect the agreement that was agreed upon by the parties when the government announced that the WUC will take over the services from the two departments.
“We feel that the government should retrain the employees and absorb them in different departments,” he said.
┬á Motshegwa was worried that the government was moving ahead because they were aware that in the absence of Bargaining Council there was nothing that will bind them.
┬á┬áHe stated that unions could hold them accountable if the Bargaining Council was present but they have since delayed it in pursuit to undermine the unions and employees rights.
┬áMotshegwa has warned that the Union will organize a mass demonstration to disrupt the downsizing.
Permanent Secretary, Boikobo Paya, informed the Public Accounts Committee this week that 800 employees who were not absorbed when WUC took over will exit the public service.
Paya stated that the excise will start next week when the first batch of 800 employees will leave the public service.
According to Paya, the government consulted with the unions prior to the excise that will leave employees without jobs.
He said that the employees were not forced but volunteered to exit.┬á
Paya noted that they were using the Early Exit Policy that came into existence a few years ago.
Paya explained that the excise will end in 2013.┬áHe, however, noted that a number of engineers and technicians who are currently studying will be absorbed after the completion of their studies.
He was unable to confirm how many employees will leave next week.