Addressing the Botswana Mine Workers Union Congress yesterday, Debswana's Managing Director, Balisi Bonyongo, spoke in plain terms that healthy and effective labour relations are at the core of industrial peace and success. The Congress was held at Oasis Motel and saw representatives of a number of mine workers unions from across the SADC region attending.
The theme of this congress was "reclaiming our right to secure jobs and a safe workplace". Addressing the theme, Bonyongo informed the delegates that in these challenging times, the safety of employees and business partners is paramount.
Speaking on behalf of management of all mining houses in the country, Bonyongo said that although the industry has witnessed a significant improvement in the area of employee safety in past few years, the industry has also witnessed accidents and incidents which have claimed lives. "It is important that as an industry we investigate these accidents, learn from them and ensure they do not happen again," Bonyongo stressed.
He attributed the success of labour relations in the mining sector to the strong partnership they have with the Botswana Mine Workers Union. Bonyongo said that this relationship will grow from strength to strength and it will ultimately propel us towards the Vision 2016 pillar of a prosperous, productive and innovative nation.
Bonyongo indicated that in addition to the traditional approach of collective bargaining for higher wages and benefits, it is important that they also inculcate the right behaviors among workers. "These behaviors include but are not limited to a high work ethic, living the safety values, accountability, managing personal finances and employee's wellbeing," he said.
Among those who graced the event was Hon. Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources who officially opened the congress and Leader of Opposition, Hon. Duma Boko who gave a motivational speech.