Uncertainty reigns high at Water Utilities Corporation following letters sent to staff, downgrading their positions.
In the same letters, management has also made it clear that there is currently an ongoing salaries review, which may result in some employees losing their benefits.
The corporation’s acting chief executive officer, Godfrey Mudanga, confirmed to the Telegraph on Monday that since the beginning of this month WUC has been on a restructuring exercise.
He said the restructuring is meant to improve service delivery.┬á
Mudanga says the restructuring affects everyone from the corporation’s CEO to the lowest position at the parastatal.
“We could have said that everybody must apply for new jobs but we decided to redeploy everyone. The restructuring will not in any way lead to loss of jobs,” said Mudanga.
He said that the restructuring is necessitated by the implementation of the Water Sector Reforms (WSR) as the corporation takes additional responsibilities.
As part of the reforms, WUC will take over employees and the mandate of the Department of Water Affairs.
The restructuring comes after the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources single sourced the World Bank Group for advisory services for water and waste water sector reforms in the country in August 2009 to look into water tariffs.
There are fears that scores of employees may find their positions degraded and their salaries reviewed.
Mudanga would not say which positions at the corporation are likely to be affected.┬á
“There is no salary review at this moment, but the restructuring process is always accompanied by creating new job profiles and re- measurement of jobs using the Hay grading system, which may result in downgrading or upgrading of some positions depending on the new role as seen by the Hay Consultant,” Mudanga told The Telegraph.
The acting CEO says the restructuring exercise is going to affect both old WUC staff and new staff, previously from the Department of Water Affairs.
The Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ministry of Local Government, Water Utilities Corporation and Union representatives of Botswana Land Boards and Local Authorities Workers Union (BOLLAWU), Manual Workers Union (MWU) and Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) have been tasked with ensuring the success of the transition process in the water sector, such that no jobs are shed as a result of the water sector reforms.
Curiously, the staff members who talked to The Telegraph on condition of anonymity said it would seem like the engineering and technical staff is not affected by the ongoing restructuring.
“If anything, these sections stand to benefit. And we suspect it is because the Acting CEO is himself an engineer. And these are the same people who continue to benefit from the scarce skills allowance,” said another employee.
They said it is strange that Mr. Mudanga would want to push ahead with such a far reaching human resource exercise even before he has been appointed a substantive CEO.
“What will happen if he does not get the job? It’s possible what he is doing may not be in line with what the substantive CEO would want,” said another.