In a strong-worded letter to the Chairman of Mascom Board of Directors, BOFEPUSU deputy Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa has called for the sacking of Mascom CEO Jose Vieira Couceira accusing him of presiding over ‘victimisation, persecution and discrimination of employees who have unionised at Mascom’. “Public servants whom we also represent cannot have their funds at BPOPF (majority shareholder at Mascom) being used to finance unethical trading and pay salaries of management who is hell bent on terrorising workers,” Motshegwa charged.
Below is his full letter:
Botswana Federation of Public and Private Sector Unions is a Labour centre that organises workers across all industries in the Country. The role of the Federation as a Labour Centre is inter alia; •Protecting and advancing workers interests through striving for just standards of living, social and economic security/justice, and fair conditions of work for workers; •Striving for economic, social, and political justice and equality in order to achieve prosperity for all;
The Federation is currently mounting campaigns against companies and businesses that engage in horrific workplace and human rights abuses, and the Federation is in endeavours to such businesses accountable for their unethical trading. Botswana Communications Workers Unions (BCWU) is a Union that organises workers in communications industry including Mascom, and the Union is an affiliate of BOFEPUSU.
As a Federation we are deeply perturbed by the on-going status of poor labour relations and wild violation of labour rules at Mascom. There is ample evidence of victimisation, persecution and discrimination of employees who have unionised at Mascom. These circumstances have led to the unprocedural and unlawful dismissal of the Secretary General of the Union, the pending dismissal of the President of the Union and the rest of membership petrified. Further to harassment of Union leaders and members, the Company is vigorously refusing to establish bargaining structures in the workplace for social dialogue to prevail. We would like to remind Mascom that as a company, it has obligation to subscribe to and abide by the Labour laws of the Country. Workplace rights are human rights and therefore protecting workplace and human rights ought to be fundamental as a culture of the company.
The prevailing practices of lack of dignity and respect unto workers are against labour laws of Botswana, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Labour Organisation‘s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Public Servants whom we also represent cannot have their funds at BPOPF (majority shareholder at Mascom) being used to finance unethical trading and pay salaries of management who is hell bent on terrorising workers. We have since taken a decision to mount a massive and catastrophic campaign against Mascom on account of unethical trading and poor labour relations. It ought to be fathomed that, in any organisation the buck stops with the head of the organisation; It has become clear that the current Chief Executive Officer is failing to manage Mascom and the realisation is that the Company is poised for failure under his stewardship.
Under his leadership Mascom will be shamed in public for its poor labour practices and this will regrettably blemish the Company’s image and hurt its sales. The Company needs a leader who will be able to turn around its image and instill good labour relations for sustainability of the Company. On another note we are disturbed by the lack of implementation of localisation policy at the Mascom with regard to the position of CEO, and our take is that there are capable citizens who can run the Company. Citizen economic empowerment should extend to affording citizens opportunities to serve at positions as high as the headship of Mascom. We call on the Board of Mascom to cause for the sacking of the CEO and we will be following on them as to how they executive this important assignment.
Ketlhalefile M.N Motshegwa