Botswana: Unionising Is Within Law - Vice President

Orapa — Unionising is within the law and it is the right of employees, the Vice President Mr Slumber Tsogwane has said.

During a meeting with mine workers union representatives in Orapa recently, Mr Tsogwane explained that no one should be intimidated for participating in unions as the unions existed to give workers guidance and protection.

Mr Tsogwane stated that there should be a platform where management, union and government leadership meet to discuss employee welfare issues.

He indicated that localisation plan for all posts should be in place to be followed by the employer, stating that localisation policy applied to all organisations.

Mr Tsogwane further noted that allegations of victimisation, nepotism, and intimidation at the workplace should be looked into.

Responding to concerns raised by the Botswana Mine Workers Union national spokesperson Mr Desmond Seomeng, the Vice President said the use of scannex had been put on hold to allow informed research to take place.

Mr Seomeng had indicated that they were against the use of scannex, which is an ionising radiation machine used for addressing issues of diamond smuggling.

He had further indicated that the unions had undertaken research that had proved that the use of scannex was not safe for scanning the human body and proposed that its use should be abolished in mines.

On other issues, Mr Seomeng gave credit to the use of Performance Management System (PMS) which was once used to appraise employees and called for its re-introduction.

He said its application in determining quarterly bonus payment could be fair since it was determined by the number of carats produced.

He regarded the quarterly system of bonus payment as discriminatory, saying it was determined by the rate of adherence to safety issues and workload reached, and done by management alone.

Annual bonus, he said, was based on production target and expressed concern at the huge difference between bonus payment for lower-level staff and management.

He, therefore, called for fair distribution of bonuses and noted that the 13th cheque should not be regarded as a bonus.

Mr Seomeng said they had a substantive stand on three per cent salary increment, explaining that they were preparing to engage with management on the next wage negotiation issues.

He also decried lack of consultation with unions when planning for the Debswana 50th anniversary.

He said had there been consultations, they could have advised on the employees best interests for the reward.

He said they realised that a decision had already been made on the reward and on how the event would be celebrated when management consulted them.

He said a neck piece and wristwatch could not be regarded as a reward, saying they had proposed a figure of P10 000 for each employee as a reward, but the employer had no arrangement for a reward in monetary form.

He called for guaranteed loan schemes for Debswana employees, adding that tax rates for employees were too high.

Source : BOPA

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