Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) says the decision by Debswana to cut ties with Majwe Mining should not result in any job losses, especially now under the State on Public Emergency, which prohibits retrenchments.
This week, Debswana announced that it has decided to terminate the Majwe Mining Cut 9 contract effective January. 04th, this year.
However, Majwe Mining has been given a three-month notice starting on the day of the termination of the contract.
Reasons for the termination of the multi-billion Pula contract were not provided save for Debswana to say it would now carry the Cut 9 project in-house.
Majwe Mining, a joint venture between Bothakga Burrow Botswana and Thiess Botswana was awarded a P15.7 million Cut 9 project in 2019 to extend the life of the Jwaneng Mine until 2035.
The joint venture had previously successfully undertaken the Cut 8 project at Jwaneng.
Speaking in an interview this week, BMWU President, Joseph Tsimako underscored that the position of the Union is that Debswana should absorb the affected employees from Majwe Mining Joint Venture.
However, Tsimako revealed the Union leadership was not consulted by both Majwe and Debswana before the decision to terminate the contract and has now set up meetings with the two parties.
Tsimako said like many, the Union learned about the termination through social media
“We have set up a meeting with Majwe for the 20th of January and Debswana for the 21st and 22nd of January this year,” said Tsimako, highlighting that the Union hopes to get the reasons behind the termination of the contract at these meetings.
Tsimako said it is important for Debswana to share the reasons to terminate Majwe Mining Joint Venture as the contractor for the Cut 9 project.
In a statement released on Tuesday on the 9th of January 2021, the Union says an emergency meeting with BMWU Majwe Branch leadership was called by Majwe and Debswana Mine Management team to inform workers on the latest developments.
“Several issues, including the continuation of the Cut 9 project; the hybrid mining method; absorption of Majwe Mining workers and the establishment of the transition team during the notice period comprising of personnel from Majwe and Debswana to facilitate a smooth transition were discussed,” the Union said.
The Union, however, notes that the management team failed to disclose the number of Majwe workers who will be absorbed by Debswana.
But BMWU says it is not surprised by the termination of the Majwe Mining contract as it is in line with Debswana and their group of companies’ radical transformation strategy that will see the diamond mining company make efforts towards the introduction of mechanized mining.
The Union has however expressed concern that the transformation strategy will have far-reaching effects on employment in the mineral-rich country.