Monday, June 5, 2023

BOTASH employees up in arms, present petition

Miners at BOTASH have petitioned their Managing Director, Montwedi Mphaphi, demanding, among other things, an unconditional and decent salary increment, respect for the negotiating committee, recognition of Union as representative of bargaining employees, an end to style of divide and rule type of management and an end to victimization and intimidation of their members.

In their petition, which Mphaphi refused to receive citing other work commitments, they appealed to him to listen and to take positive action at their demands.

Central to their concerns is that the economic recession had led to a general increase of commodity prices which has, in turn, eroded their purchasing powers.

They also accused the management of refusing to avail them information necessary to facilitate negotiations, which they say is against the spirit and intent of existing code of conduct between them.

The petition says that the decision to decline with the information amounts to “bad faith” as it serves to deny them to be properly informed on the company’s financial position and how the wage bill is shared amongst employees across the board.

They further said that there was no doubt in their minds that the audited financial statements total wage bill and statistics on general performance are useful for the purpose of bargaining, adding that, if shared, they promote transparency and fair play. They further say that the refusal to avail them the statement runs contrary to the express terms of collective labour agreements between them.

On accusation that the employer is practicing divide and rule tactics, the petition says that the management’s move to pay salary increase to non Union members who fall within the bargaining unit in the middle of negotiations undermines the Union as a negotiating partner as well as being disruptive as it divides the workers and deliberately makes the whole process of negotiating unmanageable.

Further that the management has resolved to declare the negotiations between them a dispute which is used to block further negotiations in order to frustrate them, a thing which the petition says is unacceptable and reveals the extent to which the Managing Director does not care about their welfare.

The petition further states that the resolve by the Managing Director not to be involved in the negotiations did not go unnoticed and that “this level of indifference is regrettable and confirms our conclusion that you are unconcerned about motivating us to achieve higher levels of productivity”. The petition was received by the District Commissioner, Michael Silimba.

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