More than 200 casual security guards have taken the Gaborone City Council to the labour department following a pay dispute.
The 208 stand in security guards were last year called in to take the place of private security companies that had pulled out their guards because the council would not pay then.
The stand in security guards this week revealed how they were made to work 12 hour shifts for 20 working days but were only paid for 15 day eight hour shifts by the city council without overtime pay.
The casual labourers who were engaged as security guards from October 2006 last year to March this year say they were shortchanged and are demanding that they be paid the money that was withheld by the city council.
The labourers are understood to have taken the case to the Department of Labour and were reported to be preparing to up the issue with Vice President Ian Khama. They were, however, promised that the Ministry of Local Government would intervene.
”We feel cheated by the council authorities because they have made us work for them after which they do not pay us the full amount due to us. They thought we were just children who they could cheat but we have proved them wrong,” said the same source.
Currently, the labourers are waiting for a response from the Ministry of Local Government after which they will decide their next plan of action if the response does not favour them.
“We will fight this issue to the bitter end. We can not be cheated and expected to keep quite. We will never.”
Deputy Mayor Ditlhogo Mmualefhe confirmed that they had a dispute with casual labourers they employed as security guards but did not give further details.
The GCC employed temporal security guards late last year. This happened after they failed to pay private security companies they had contracted to guard their premises.
The explanation given for the failure was that when requesting the money, the council had underestimated the cost for the services.
Temporary guards were then hired whilst the Council and the Ministry of Local Government negotiated over money to pay the private security companies.
Private companies have once more started guarding council properties after the Council obtained funds for this purpose.
There was once an outcry that all the security tenders in the council were won by Gaborone councilors. Council authorities responded by saying there is no law that bars them from tendering for the jobs.