WUC employees question the looming retrenchment
- employees accuse WUC of abolishing water-works foreman post
- say WUC complains about the salaries
- WUC claims the salaries do not match the qualifications
FRANCISTOWN: Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) employees facing retrenchment have raised concerns over looming retrenchments, accusing the management of abolishing the Water Works Foreman posts due to their salary scale.
In support of their contention Water Works Foremen, who talked to this publication say the corporation wants to eliminate close to 100 employees currently employed on the post on grounds that they do not have the relevant qualifications.
The Water Works Foremen are of the view that the retrenchment is only targeting them as complaints have been raised over the high salaries, they earn on grounds that they lack relevant qualifications needed for the post when WUC had previously lowered the requirements.
Staff who questioned the retrenchment have asked why the corporation reduced the qualification requirements that afforded them the opportunity to apply for the post back in 2012 following water sector reforms. “In 2012 there was a water sector reform that reviewed employee’s qualifications. Eventually Water Works Foreman’s qualifications were reduced and employees who hold National Craft Certificate (NCC) were given an opportunity to apply for the post. Most of us who applied passed the interview and ultimately were promoted to this post. Most of us who were promoted have been working in this post for close to 20 years. To our shock we have learnt that Water Works Foreman who hold NCC should be eliminated and replaced with degree graduates. We occupied this post procedurally, so we do not understand why the corporation feels that we are earning the salary that does not resonate with our qualifications. Further WUC is blundering by eliminating experienced people and replacing them with inexperienced one,” revealed some of the Works Foreman who talked to The Botswana Gazette.
The employees attributed current levels of poor service delivery to the pending restructuring exercise, noting that it started three years ago but remained unfinished. The aggrieved employees claimed that since 2016 WUC have been on go slow because they have been affected psychologically and emotionally. “It has to be noted that since 2016, production has been low or poor because employees are on go slow, though the management is in denial. The blame for this go slow should only be attributed to the restructuring exercise which has resulted in the looming retrenchment. Though the management do not want to confirm we learnt that most of Water Works Foreman will be phased out because of the qualifications,” the employees observed.
The aggrieved employees said while the corporation claims to have made consultations there was “no such thing” as they only came to tell them about the decisions made. “During the purported consultations the management came to tell us about the impending decisions taken. We tried to raise some suggestions and questions but they were never considered, so there was no need for them to come and claim they are consulting,” the employees added.
Responding to The Botswana Gazette enquiries WUC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mmetla Masire stated that the corporation is currently undergoing restructuring exercise as opposed to a retrenchment, as alluded. “I can confirm that indeed Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) is currently undergoing restructuring exercise as opposed to retrenching as alluded. The restructuring due processes in accordance with the law are followed which entails, involvement of key stakeholders being; WUC Board, Employee Union, Ministry of Land Management Water and Sanitation Services (MLWS) and WUC employees. Different meeting/workshop forums were held and will continue during the cause of restructuring process to brief on progress, “stated Masire.
Contrary to suggestions that the Water Works Foreman are the main target, Masire insisted that the process is not meant to target individuals but is aimed at restructuring. “All Employees were dully consulted by Management and Union and in the process the new structure that was approved by Board, Union and MLWS was communicated to all employees,” he added.
The WUC CEO however confirmed that some employees’ contracts will be terminated. “Restructuring processes generally result in some employees’ services being terminated and/or redeployed. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that the WUC restructuring will result in some job losses at the completion of the ongoing exercise. However, we can only determine the impact after the work currently being done by the consultant is complete,” added Masire.