Tuesday, May 24, 2022

BOPEU enters members’ judicial fray

The Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) has joined its members who have challenged the Administration of Justice’s decision not to grant them what is believed to be ‘deserved promotions.’

The matter arises from a decision by the department to subject all the pay scales of the Bench Clerk Cadre to a job profiling or evaluation exercise. Court records show that the consequence of this exercise was that Job Effectiveness Descriptions (JEDs) were developed.

The bench clerks wanted all those who are Principal Bench Clerks at C1 scale to be elevated to the posts of Executive Bench Clerks at the D3 scale because they perform duties at that high level.

They also wanted all those that are presently Executive Bench Clerks at D3 scale be elevated to the posts of senior executive bench Clerks at D2 scale because they are performing duties at that high level. The matter which was before the Industrial Court was thrown out the window. The clerks have since indicated that they intend to appeal the decision.

In a letter addressed to the Administration of Justice, BOPEU stated that, “We confirm that we write for and on behalf of our members, names of which have been annexed herein, all of which are employed under the Department of Administration of Justice, serving as Bench Clerks.”

BOPEU said: “According to our members and the correspondences disclosed to us, your esteemed office fails and/or neglects to implement approved Job Effectiveness Descriptions (JEDS) for Bench Clerks of the High Court, despite such JEDS being approved in September 2018.”

BOPEI said their members have sought the indulgence “of your esteemed office several times, with little success.”

The union revealed that the last attempt to engage department over the issue was through the assistance of its members’ workplace representatives in February 2020, attempts which all proved futile. 

“We wish to bring to your attention the prejudice suffered by our members occasioned by the lackadaisical approach the employer has adopted; on-implementation of approved JEDS effectively means our members are working without any JEDS in place,” the union said. Consequently, the union said, its members are at a disadvantage with respect to their professional development: Job Evaluation and Performance Assessments cannot be carried out effectively absent any JĘDS in place, which places their members at a disadvantage to their counterparts.

The union said this anomaly has the effect of creating salary disparities that ordinarily would not exist if effect had been given to implementation of the approved JEDS.

“Our members would also be placed at a disadvantaged position when it comes to issues of promotions, staff training and development as non-implementation of the approved JEDS effectively means they are not assessed according to the most current and applicable standards,” the union said.

BOPEU said the approved JEDS have created new posts which the affected parties would ordinarily be rationalised into, creating obligations with respect to remuneration and deliverables. 

“Non-implementation of the approved JEDS also translates to a situation where our members are working without any clearly spelt out deliverables,” the union said. It added that this is likely to brew expectations that may be perceived as reasonable and/or unreasonable between employer and employee. 

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