March 29, 2017

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5000 workers of Botswana’s nickel miner retrenched

It was only a matter of if not when for some employees of troubled Botswana nickel miner to be rendered jobless. And the worst fears have been confirmed.

As widely expected, Africa News Agency reports that KPMG, the provisional liquidator of Bamangwato Concession Limited (BCL), has confirmed that retrenchment of 5000 employees of BCL and its subsidiaries, Tati Nickel Mining Company (TNMC) and BCL Investments, is imminent.

According to African News Agency, in a letter which was sent directly to the workers’ union late last week, KPMG said all employment contracts at BCL would be terminated on 31 October 2016, only employees who would be needed in the post-liquidation period would be retained.

Workers will receive their last salaries on 31 October, which will include outstanding salaries, leave days, notice, severance and repatriation (in case of foreign workers) packages.

However, KPGM’s Nigel Dixon-Warren, the signatory of the letter, said all payments would only be made after the finalisation of the liquidation process, which, he said could go beyond the February 2017 deadline set by the government.

In the letter, Dixon pointed out, “It will be necessary for some staff to remain (employed) after October 31, and to continue to work in the post-liquidation period. If you are needed during this time, I will either extend your contract of employment, or offer you a short-term contract. I am trying to make special arrangements for payment to be made to you early so you do not have to wait.”

The news of the retrenchment has not gone down well with the country’s trade union, Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU), of which most of its constituents are drawn from mining employees. The organisation’s head, Jack Tlhagale, has vowed that his organisation will fight to the bitter end to ensure that the rights of the retrenched mine workers are respected.

 

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