BMWU Wants Khoemacau CEO Sacked


  • Union wants MMG Limited not to retain CEO – John Ferreira

Following the recent finalisation of the acquisition of Khoemacau Copper Mining by MMG Limited, the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has moved swiftly to meet the Chinese company in a bid to have the mine’s CEO, John Ferreira sacked among other issues.

The union recently met with the MMG Limited Executives following the company’s public announcement of the completion of its acquisition of the mine. MMG, which is controlled by state-run China Minmetals has recently finalised the acquisition of the Khoemacau Copper Mining in a deal valued at nearly $1.88 billion.

BMWU expressed in a statement, its dismay that MMG has retained Ferreira whom it accuses of perpetuating the poor working conditions at the mine, among them issues of  safety and health standards and instances of harassment.

The union has since advised MMG Limited that, for harmonious industrial relations to prevail at Khoemacau operations, the company had to consider the appointment of a new CEO to run the company.

According to the union, the primary objective of the high-level meeting was to introduce itself to the MMG management team, and further to be briefed on the vision of the company as it relates to the running of the mine.

During the meeting BMWU indicated that it raised several concerns including responsibilities for outstanding liabilities created by previous owners and those that have been carried forward after the completion of sale.

The union said it however equally emphasised improvement of other facets of KCM’s working environment, including, noise pollution, working hours, housing conditions, discriminatory practices based on race and compliance with good labour practices.

According to it, MMG Limited leadership has assured the union of its commitment to sustainable mining practices. “As a company listed in the stock exchange, they are mandated to maintain the highest standards of corporate governance and ESG principles. They intend to maintain the same human resources processes including the pay cycle. The company informed the union that it subscribes to a safety performance and fatal risk standards,” read the press release.

The union has further highlighted that the meeting was positive, as discussions were honest and robust from both parties on the best modalities of running the KCM operations. In addition, BMWU indicated its desire to meet with the board chairman of MMG to engage at a high-level to conclude on the matters which it had raised with the board before the sale transaction.

“The Union has however noted with concern the systematic exclusion of Botswana Mine Workers Union in mining sale agreements in Botswana’s mining industry. Public interest provisions under the Competition & Authority Act, which workers and especially trade unions could ordinarily employ to protect their members during mergers and acquisitions, limits the scope of public interest interventions in such commercial transactions.”

It concluded that intervention is only limited to merger related retrenchments and fails to cover non-compliance with related legal requirements. This it raised is a serious gap in the law noting that the union has committed to challenging these elitist and capitalistic laws which are intended to keep the working-class poor.


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