Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has resolved to defend its fifty (50) members under the security department of Lucara Botswana against a systematic targeting by its unethical managing director, who has orchestrated a retrenchment exercise to purge employees who participated in a company investigation, exposing the rot and unethical conduct of the top brass of Lucara Botswana’s management.
On or about the 22nd June 2022, Lucara Diamond Corporation in Canada instructed its subsidiary Lucara Botswana to commission an investigation of the security department following allegations of maladministration and unethical conduct at Karowe Mine. The investigation was prompted by an incident involving the security manager. Under the protection of clause 5 of Lucara Whistle Blower Policy, fifty (50) security personnel volunteered to make statements during the investigation process. Not long after the investigation report was submitted to management, all fifty (50) employees who volunteered statements were given termination letters signed by the managing director, a move that was inconsistent with corporate governance protocols. Upon becoming aware of this covert exercise, the Union swiftly interdicted, which resulted in only three (3) members
losing jobs while fourty-seven (47) remained. The dismissals were unlawful and not subject to any disciplinary action.
Management subsequently commissioned a security optimization assessment of the security department through Assurance Protection Group Incorporation (APGI), a South African company. The plan by management was to justify the retrenchment of the remaining 47 whistle blowers, and do a sweeping exercise, intended to cut loose ends or anyone that could implicate the managing director and her cabal to their breach of business ethics and conduct.
The union believes that the optimization assessment report and the investigation report are responsible for the unlawful dismissals and the intended retrenchment of the security personnel. The said South African Company, APGI, which was hired to do the optimization assessment, has now been engaged to oversee security services at Karowe Mine, while simultaneously overseeing the implementation of the optimization/retrenchment exercise. In view of this and other developments, the Union invoked section 48C of the Trade Unions and Employers Organization Act together with Clause 6 of its Collective Labour Agreement with Lucara Botswana, for the disclosure of the reports to inform and satisfy itself of the lawfulness or otherwise of the intended retrenchments. To date Lucara Botswana management has refused to disclose this information, impugning the very foundation of their intention to optimize the department and/or retrench employees.
Position of the Union
The union finds Lucara Botswana management’s conduct suspect, baseless and unlawful. It is apparent that these multinational companies are here to extract our commodities without care for the lives of the citizens of the countries from which they obtain these resources. The Managing Director of Lucara Botswana is complicit in this unethical conduct. Her motive to target these security personnel is to bury and hide whatever infractions that were picked up from the investigation report, which infractions she sanctioned and was a part of. Their refusal to share the report with the Union is to cover up the rot which the Managing Director herself has nutured.
We demand as we hereby do:
1. All Lucara employees unlawfully dismissed on account of the investigation to be reinstated with immediate effect.
2. The reports for both the investigation and security optimization to be furnished the union forthwith.
3. Lucara Botswana Managing Director should tender her immediate
resignation as she is not fit and proper to run Lucara Botswana.
4. The Board of Lucara Corp Inc, should enforce its ESG stewardship policy by removing the its current MD as she is a risk to investors at Lucara.
5. The planned retrenchment of 47 security employees by the MD should be halted forthwith.
6. A joint inspection between the Ministry of Mines and Labour should be conducted at Lucara Botswana as matter of urgency.
ISSUED BY THE BMWU LEADERSHIP
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