A looming retrenchment at Moolman mine set for later this month is likely to affect over 500 jobs, sources within the Botswana Mine Workers Union told Botswana Guardian this week.
In fact the fears were heightened by what Moolman employees regarded as “unusual” behavior on Tuesday when the employer started moving equipment from the pit to the garages in preparation for a shutdown. Already one machine is believed to have left the mine premises.
Vice President of Botswana Miners Workers Union Norman Kelaotswe confirmed to this publication that indeed Moolman has removed its drilling machinery from the pit. According to him, drills are permanently deployed at the plant or underground. He said that trucks were instead parked in the garage, “I saw this with my own eyes,” said Kelaotswe.
He explained that Moolman presented their case to the union on Tuesday only after they had mobilised their equipment. “They surprisingly claim that they have not signed a new contract with the client (Tati-Nickel-BCL),” said BMWU Vice President. He said that Moolman claims that it cannot account for expenditure pertaining to things such as payment of employees since no contract was signed between themselves and Tati-Nickel.
The last contract between Moolman and Tati Nickel expired in December last year and ever since January this year they have not been operating. Kelaotswe noted that the future of Moolman’s employees is now uncertain as retrenchment is looming on the 29th of this month. It is said that over 500 workers are likely to lose their jobs. Kelaotswe said that as a union they look at the matter differently.
“Last year on the 11th of November they won a tender which ended in December and they have since then been bidding for tenders. Now we expect them to start operations but they have not done so since January nor have they had a word with the client,” charged the vice president.
Efforts to establish a comment from Moolman were futile as their office phones rang without without being answered since last week Friday.