Thursday, September 24, 2020

Debswana, Mine Workers Union legal battles continue

Botswana Mine Workers Union lawyer, Tshiamo Rantao, with Virgil Vervegeer representing Debswana, will battle it out in the Lobatse High Court on Thursday.

At the center of their battle will be BMWU demands that judge Lashvinder Walia issues the following orders:
That contract entered into between Debswana and BMWU on 23 July ,2008 remains valid and direct and order Debswana to implement car benefit scheme in terms of application by applicants. Alternatively to the above two if Court declines to implement scheme, an order should be made that Debswana incorporates car allowances into salaries of C band employees of Debswana and order and direct Debswana to credit C band employees with equivalent of their car allowance from 23 July, 2008 to the date of the order.

In papers before the Court, prepared by Rantao, the Secretary General of BMWU, Jack Tlhagale, points out that a meeting was held on 18 April, 2008 and the meeting appointed a task team which came up with a report which proposed, amongst other things, car allowance for all employees of Debswana.

Another meeting agreed on this on the 18 and 20 May and extended the demand for car allowance to C band employees.
At another meeting on 16-17 June, the BMWU reiterated that it has adopted a car allowance for C band employees and that the position for this was retention of the band employees who had highest staff turnover.

Debswana agreed to expand car benefit to C band employees but refused to extend it to all employees. On 3 July 2008 they again met and agreed that the Debswana’s line scheme only extend to C band effective from date of signing of 2008/2009 wage agreement.

Debswana failed to implement the terms of agreement of 23 July, 2008 in respect of car allowance scheme and that this matter was discussed at a meeting of 11 and 12 September 2008 between the two organisations .

In that meeting, Debswana told the Union that they had ceased handing out cash as car allowance and that it would be into salaries of beneficiaries of the scheme.

In total departure from the agreement of 23 July 2008, Debswana sent the Union a car benefit scheme devoid of car allowance in any shape. Debswana, he maintains, has effectively taken away basis upon which the Union agreed to give in to Debswana’s demands during negotiations whilst unfairly enjoying the benefits it got from the contract.

They want Debswana to be held and bound by terms of the agreement and that it was surprising that after all negotiations they held Debswana was now turning around when it is time to deliver on obligations imposed by the agreement of July 23, 2008 claiming that a mistake was made in giving Union copy of scheme which is outdated.

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