Wednesday, January 19, 2022

High Court suspends salary negotiations case

Lobatse High Court Judge Abednego Tafa on Friday ordered that public sector unions affiliated to the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) to meet on 11th October 2013 to attempt to resolve the dispute in the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC).
Justice Tafa also ordered that the two parties return to court on 15th October for the court to authenticate the agreement in the case or for the court to hear and adjudicate on the case in the event the two have not reached a consensus. ?The case arises from a decision by the government, through the Director of the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), Carter Morupisi withdrawing from the PSBC citing unhappiness over the decision of the unions to allegedly utter political statements to the effect that they will urge their members to support certain political candidates in the 2014 elections.
The lawyer representing BOFEPUSU Mboki Chilisa of Collins and Chilisa Consultants informed the court that he had reached a consented agreement with the state lawyer, Boinelo Mosweu to allow for the two parties to meet on 13 October.
Meanwhile Justice Tafa apologised on behalf of the administration of justice to the two parties “for having been sent from pillar to post when the case was expected to be heard on Wednesday.” ┬á
“The case was sent to Gaborone from one judge in Lobatse and then returned to another judge in Lobatse. That’s not the manner we should have dealt with this matter. I apologise on behalf of the administration of justice,” said Tafa.
In an interview Rari explained that they had received a letter from the PSBC Chairman Modiri Mbaakanyi requesting both parties to have a meeting.
“In view of the letter from the PSCBC chairman we decided to request the court to give us chance to meet with representatives from the employer and present our case before him. If the matter is not resolved we will come back to court,” he said. Rari added that the DPSM should have engaged the union before taking the decision to withdraw from the bargaining council.
“The employer has agreed to meet us at the meeting convened by the PSBC chairman and that is why we also acceded to the request by the chairman to honour the meeting,” he said.
The unions also argue that Morupisi’s decision has caused them irreparable harm. “The rules on salary negotiations envisaged that they take place not more than 30 days and it would render the 2013/14 negotiations impossible if there is an non-existent Council due to the First Respondent (DPSM) absence,” the Union stated in their court papers.

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