Transport and Communications minister Nonofo Molefhi visited the Botswana Railways in Mahalapye on Tuesday to admonish both management and the Union to stop fighting.
Accompanied by his Permanent Secretary Thato Raphaka and senior officers from the ministry, Molefhi’s visit was intended to calm tempers ahead of today’s meeting of the Botswana Railways Joint Negotiating Committee to finalise consultation process on restructuring exercise. Sources said the meeting was exclusive to the executive only, which left out Botswana Railways Amalgamated Workers Union. The delegation is said to have also toured the workshops at the BR headquarters.
An insider told this paper that the minister issued a stern warning that management should finalise the long overdue exercise, which will see 147 employees retrenched. “He told us that life must go on and that we should ensure that implementation starts soon,” he said. The Joint Negotiating Committee will be meeting from 5 to 7 June. BRAWU General Secretary Tsenang Nfila informed staff that the last meeting on the exercise will start on Wednesday and ‘both management and BRAWU are keen to conclude the discussions, and pave way for implementation of the exercise, as quickly as possible.’
Molefhi confirmed the visit and said it was a regular consultation and business meeting with management. He mentioned that he came to discuss opportunities, challenges and business strategies that the BR plans to embark on. The minister said that the restructuring exercise was still in discussion and that he did not want to interfere. “I told the Union last year that where there is a deadlock between them and management, they should go to the board and that if it fails, I will come in,” he said.