Friday, July 30, 2021

Judge upholds Union’s appeal

Lobatse High Court judge, Abednico Tafa, has upheld an appeal brought by the National Amalgamated Local and Central Government Parastatal Workers Union against the Rural Industries Promotion Company (RIPCO), seeking a declaration that the exit package agreement signed by the parties on April 2, 2012 was binding on the respondents.

They also sought the setting aside of the unilateral decision of RIPCO to repudiate the said exit package agreement.

The two parties had apparently gone into agreement after realization that some of its employees might have to be retrenched to allow for its smooth merging with Botswana Technology.

Upholding the appeal, Tafa, on the contention by the Board of RIPCO that management will only pay exit packages within financial ceiling provided by the Board and the confines of labour laws, said that there is no evidence that the packages agreed upon by the parties exceed the financial ceiling provided by the Board or the confines of labour laws.

He said that all that had been annexed is a resolution of the Board passed at its meeting of 29 May, some four days after the application had been filed to the effect that the “Board approved a total exit package amounting to P46,8 million which is affordable”.

Tafa further said that RIPCO had conveniently ignored the fact that, in the minutes, the parties had declared their respective intentions to be bound by the agreement. The minutes, the judge, said provided that “it was emphasized that the signing of the document was final and binding”.

Finally, the judge issued an order that the Labour agreement concerning exit packages between the two parties was binding RIPCO, and RIPCO pays the costs and that the order does not bar RIPCO from the right of seeking the Union’s consent to reopen negotiations in terms of the Recognition and Negotiation Agreement.

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