Friday, February 23, 2024

Employees sue Debswana over salary dispute

Two disgruntled employees at Debswana Diamond Company, Letlhogonolo Maruping and Oaitse Gabathuse have taken the diamond mining company to court over salaries dispute.

The employees who are based at Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) accuse the company of exploiting them. Their separate cases are before Justice Bashi Moesi.

In the court documents one of the plaintiffs, (Maruping) claims that he entered into a contract with Debswana Diamond Company as a permanent and pensionable employee on or about 2007 employed under the Survey Section in the Mineral Management (MRM) Department as a Survey Operative at B2 salary scale.

In 2011 there was a restructuring exercise and he was placed to the position of MRM Assistant (B4 scale position) still under the MRN Department. In 2014 Debswana offered him promotion to the position of Field Officer Survey.

In this position he performed duties or roles aligned to roles of a Mine Surveyor (D2 salary scale) There had been no advertisement and interview regarding the position.

The plaintiff said that he then raised the complaint with the employer (Debswana) demanding a job description. He complained that he was doing work similar to that done by a Mine Surveyor as his primary role but was not paid the same rate as the Mine Surveyor.

The plaintiff says in the court papers that Debswana admitted that the plaintiff duties are similar to that of a Mine Surveyor and that it introduced the position wrongly. The mining company is said to have admitted that the Field Officer-Survey position is not in the survey section structure and that it has no job description.

The plaintiff claims Debswana) falsely remunerates him using field officer survey (C2 salary) scale instead of using a proper position aligned to his duties that are of a Mining Surveyor. The plaintiff maintains that the promotion process was an anomaly and it was fraudulent. He claims that instead, Debswana has proposed to pay him a meagre damage of P5 000 compensation and to restructure the survey section to address the promotion irregularities.

I am not prepared to accept any compensation which is less than the proper remuneration that corresponds to the service which I have given to the defendant, reads part of his grievances.

The plaintiff further avers that Debswana has willfully breached and neglected its policy and procedures with the intentions to saving itself from costs and expense of hiring a Mining Surveyor or reintroducing Assistant Mine Surveyors by among others; Neglecting Debswana Job Evaluation Policy and Neglecting Debswana Recruitment policy.

The other plaintiff, Gabathuse also claims that he entered into an employment contract with Debswana on the 10th of December 2013 employed under the same Department; Mineral Resources Management (MRM) as an Assistant Surveyor. He also claims that he raised a similar complaint with Debswana demanding a job description aligned to the MRM Assistant Survey Advert job summary.

I complained that I was doing a job similar to that of a Mine Surveyor as my primary role but I was not being paid similarly or the same rate as a Mine Surveyor, said the plaintiff in part of his head of arguments.

According to the plaintiff, Debswana equally admitted that the plaintiff duties are similar to that of a Mining Surveyor and that the position was wrongly introduced as MRM Assistant Survey. He also shares the similar complaints with the other plaintiff (Maruping) that he is being exploited as he is not remunerated for the duties that he performs of a Mining Surveyor ((D2 salary scale).

Debswana has since entered a notice to defend against both plaintiffs. The plaintiffs represent themselves while Debswana is represented by Olatotse Solomon Attorneys. The case continues.


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