The Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development Tshenolo Mabeo has revealed that the office of BCL Liquidator led by Nigel Dixon- Warren has engaged 546 former employees to help with the liquidation process.
When answering a question in Parliament this week, Mabeo said 510 out of the 546 are the former employees of the BCL Mine which closed in 2016 leading to a massive loss of jobs while 36 are the former Tati Nickel Mine workers. He said 74 out of the 477 employees are unionized with none of the engaged employees from Tati Nickel currently unionized.
He however noted that there is a Collective Labour Agreement between the Liquidator and the Trade Unions of the former workers and according to Section 2 of The Trade Disputes Act 2016, as emphasized by Mabeo. A Collective Labour agreement refers to a written agreement relating to terms and conditions of employees concluded between one or more organizations. He therefore said on the basis of this section with regards to provision of collective labour agreement , the liquidator is not necessarily an employer as such there is no collective labour agreement between him and the trade unions that represents the unionized workers he engaged. He further said “He is executing his functions in terms of the Insolvency Act Chapter 42:02, and workers are engaged in their capacity as creditors. As such the BCL Liquidator relies on existing labour laws to deal with issues of employment”.
Minister Mabeo divulged that that issues pertaining to employee’s benefits arising from the insolvency of workers are covered by section 91 A of Employment Act Cap 47:01 and the section amongst others provides that “In the event of an employer’s insolvency, an employee’s claims arising out of his employment shall be payable out of the assets of the insolvent employer before non-privileged are paid their shares” reads part of the section.
Selebi Phikwe West Member of Parliament Dithapelo Keorapetse had asked Minister Mabeo to state the number of former Tati Nickel and BCL Phikwe mine employees engaged by the Liquidator as it was announced before that the Liquidator will engages some former employees who lost their jobs amid closure of the mines.
Youthful legislator Keorapetse also challenged the Minister to clarify if the said engaged workers are unionized with Botswana Mine Workers Union or any other trade Union. Keorapetse said although the liquidator has engaged some former employees it is not yet enough to address the issue of high job losses suffered after the BCL Phikwe mine was closed and put in liquidation process hence said more viable strategies shall be crafted to reignite glimpse of hope on remaining jobless former employees.