Thursday, May 23, 2024

BLLAHWU sues gov’t over job grading and pay

The Botswana Land Board and Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) has raised a number of issues with the Ministry of Health, some minutes of meetings between the two parties show.

Among the issues that the union raised is the issue involving the union and the ministry’s previous bi-lateral and joint consultations. The ministry failed to honour the agreement and the union referred the matter to labour, where a failure to settle was reached. The matter is to be heard at High Court on the 12th June 2023.

The union said it has noticed that there is a discrepancy/ inconsistency in the headship at Emergency Medical Service (EMS) across the country. The union therefore requested that there be standardization/ uniformity in the headship more so that the officers are performing the same duties. Since there is an existing clear structure that indicates that EMS should be headed at D3 scale we are of the view that Ministry should elevate and compensate the affected officers accordingly for undue- enrichment.

The Ministry indicated that currently they have requested for positions from DPSM in order to feed the structure as indeed there are some structural gaps in the cadre.

Another issue was lack of progression for pharmacy technicians which BLLAHWU said it was bought to its attention that there exists lack of progression of Pharmacy Technicians within the cadre especially to D4 or D3, despite their schemes of service which dictates that they progress up to D3 scale. The Union therefore requested that there be consideration for progression in the cadre as most have been in one position for almost 10 years.

The ministry appreciated the matter and requested to be given time to develop a proper structure that will aid progression in the cadre. Further to that the Ministry raised a concern that some officers reject promotions to remote areas.

Regarding the issue of separation of byelaw from legal, the union requested for the separation of Byelaw department from legal department as the union believed that it creates a conflict of interest as the Council Attorneys are legal Advisors to all Council departments therefore should be independent.

In response, the DPSM indicated that the two departments will be separated in the new structure therefore the legal department will be a standalone department.

Touching on scarce skills allowance, BLLAHWU said following the declaration by DPSM to pay scarce skill allowance to Estate officers who hold Real Estate or Property studies, the union has noted with concern that the ministry decided to pay the allowance to degree holders in exclusion of Diploma holders. The union believes this is unfair as according to DPSM clarifications, the allowance is supposed to be given to both DIPLOMA and DEGREE holders, the union therefore requests that the scarce skill be extended to Diploma holders.

In response Ministry indicated that they will write to DPSM justifying and requesting for the extension of the scarce skill allowance to Diploma Holders.

On other issues, the union has noticed there is a discrepancy/ inconsistency in the headship of departments across Landboards as some land boards are headed by D2 while others D3 and D4 respectively.

Therefore, the Union requested that there be standardization/ uniformity in the headship more so that the officers are performing the same duties. In response, Ministry indicated that the exercise of standardizing is still ongoing. They indicated that they are currently rationalizing vacant positions to correct the anomaly. Currently, they managed to standardize the following departments: Audit, Treasury/ Accounts and Survey. Further to that the Information Technology (IT) department was standardized before the end of financial year (2022/2023).

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