- Fail random breath test
- 3 dismissed – 27 under investigation
Up to 30 drunken mine workers face the sack after failing a random breathalyzer test at the BCL mine in Selebi-Phikwe.
Three employees have been dismissed while a further 27 are being questioned after management carried out the tests on Wednesday morning.
Random breathalyzer tests caught workers off guard at the BCL mine in Selebi-Phikwe on Wednesday morning when 30 employees were found to be under the influence of alcohol. The random tests have caused anger amongst some workers who have accused the management of carrying out a witch hunt in order to downsize the workforce.
“All the dismissed workers are labourers from the lower ranks, so you can see what their mission is,” said the source who did not wish to be named. He claimed that most of the 27 under investigation are skilled workers that the management don’t want to lose.
BCL Public Relations and Marketing Manager, James Molosankwe has dismissed the allegations, saying that the tests were not targeting any particular group. “BCL has a clear alcohol policy that prohibits bringing and drinking alcohol in the mines. It is an offence punishable by dismissal. Those still being questioned are a mixture of employees from engineers to labourers. I won’t divulge information on positions of those dismissed or under investigation, but there has been no discrimination,” he said.
Molosankwe added that alcohol testing was done frequently as a mandatory requirement under the Mines, Quarries, Works and Machinery Act. “This law stipulates that there should be no alcohol in the workplace. The aim is not to punish employees but to eliminate alcohol related safety and health risks as far as practicable.
“Even the general manager is subjected to this test and in actual fact anyone who enters the mine has to be prepared go through the breathalyzer test. We are merely enforcing the law,’’ he said When contacted for a comment Botswana Mine Workers President, Union Jack Tlhagale said that they could not comment on the issue as they are still waiting for feedback from the branch office.
Last year an allegedly drunken driving BCL mine employee who was on his way to work crashed into a house killing a nursing mother and her four months old baby. He was suspected to be drunk because of his uncoordinated movement and slurred speech at the time, he refused to be tested for alcohol presence in his blood at the time of the incident.