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Labour Minister confirms job cuts

966 jobs lost from 27 companies- Balopi

Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, Mpho Balopi has said that he was aware that companies in the private and parastatal sectors have been retrenching employees.

The minister was responding to Palapye Legislator, Onneetse Ramogapi who asked Balopi in parliament if he was aware that there have been massive retrenchments in these sectors as well as some prejudicial dismissals in the public sector.

Balopi said he was aware of retrenchments in these sectors as the affected companies ceased operations due to financial constraints.

He however said he was not aware of any prejudicial dismissals in the public service.

According to the Minister, from April 2020 to January this year, the ministry received 377 notifications to retrench as required by Section 25 of the Employment Act.

“From these notifications, 966 employees were affected from 27 companies. The most affected industries/trades are manufacturing, service and repair trades,” said the Labour Minister.

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The minister popinted out that although Emergency Powers Regulations prohibit retrenchment and dismissal of workers during the State of Public Emergency regulations have not suspended labour laws.

Balopi told parliament that his ministry continues to engage companies that submit intentions to retrench to find ways to avoid job losses.

“For example, the companies are assisted to assess their configuration of hours of work to reduce overtime expenditure and allowances payable, use of technology, consider shift work and other work arrangements,” Balopi explained.

Further, Ramogapi had asked whether the time is not right to introduce the Unemployment Insurance Fund or Scheme as these retrenchments add to the rising unemployment numbers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that there is an urgent need to strengthen social dialogue and social protection to cushion employees against loss of income” he revealed, adding that the lessons are coming at a time when the country is implementing Botswana Decent Work Country Programme (BDWCP) 2020–2024.

One of the pillars of the programme is Social Protection and Conditions of Work whose, implementation Balopi said will include the provision of unemployment benefits.

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