Gaborone: The massive retrenchments in the domestic diamond cutting and polishing industry continues unabated as companies reel from the effects of high rough prices and lack of liquidity, reports BusinessWeek.
Local cutting and polishing company Diacore has retrenched 50 employees taking the total number of affected workers in the industry to around 1,000 in the past year.
At its peak, the industry employed about 3,700 workers. Companies that have recently retrenched include Moti Ganz (100), Leo Schachter (100), Eurostar (100), Shrenuj (90) Safdico (30), Zebra (50), Dalumni, Tiffany’s (50) while Teemane (400) and DMB closed shop. Diacore diamond polishing company, which has been operating in Botswana for seven years, employed about 130 people before trimming down the workforce to 80 employees.
In an interview with BusinessWeek, Diacore Managing Director Kfir Teichman admitted that there have been retrenchments within his organization, but dismissing reports of any plans to shut down their operations.
“Yes, we are retrenching. We do not have any plans to shut down our operations and we are financially stable. That is all I can say to you,” he said. Employees within the company said even the ones that survived the axe are uncertain of their futures, as they have been told to stay at home and wait for calls from management.
“I got my package when I was retrenched two weeks ago, unlike those who have been told to just stay at home because they are not even sure if they will get their monthly salaries,” said a retrenched worker who spoke on condition of anonymity. Industry sources say from the 21 cutting and polishing in Botswana, more than half of them have temporarily stalled operations and sent their staff home.
“Companies are currently not buying the overpriced rough diamonds from De Beers so there is no work for employees to do. About 12 companies are currently not working although they continue to pay staff.