Saturday, May 8, 2021

Kirby sends unions back to High Court

The Court of Appeal this week ruled that case in which the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) is suing President Ian Khama for announcing salary hike pronouncements in 2014 should be remitted to the High Court.

Trade unions prayers for relief for declaratory orders and ancillary relief were also reserved for hearing in due course at the High Court. Unions wanted the Court of Appeal to declare that the conduct of President Khama and former Director of Public Service Management, Cater Morupisi constitutes breach of duty in good faith as well as breach of the Public Service Bargaining Council procedures for meetings and negotiations as agreed to by the Government and trade Unions.

Cited as the first applicants BOFEPUSU demanded the court of Appeal to declare that President Khama’s conduct in implementing the 4% salary increment to members of BOFEPUSU constitutes breach of the duty to bargain in good faith. They further demanded that the Court of Appeal declare that the conduct of President Khama in implementing the 4% salary increment to non-unionised employees of the Government (compromising both managerial and non management employees) undermines and violates the legislative role of the Public Service Bargaining Council and constitutes breach of the duty to bargain in good faith.

The Court of Appeal had given Khama’s lawyers leave to file a supplementary answering affidavit and address issues raised in the subsequent affidavits filed by the trade unions.

“The case is remitted to the Court a quo for the judge to call a case management conference for the purpose issuing such directions as he deems fit for the service and joinder of non unionised members of the public service and the public service unions which are not parties to the present proceedings,” Court of Appeal President Ian Kirby said in his judgement.

Meanwhile the court of appeal dismissed the urgency of the case; upheld the appeal against the order that the application be struck out with costs and the unions’ prayers for a rule nisi and for interim relief were refused.

The court of appeal ordered the High Court to set dates for the filing and service of the affidavits; set time limits for the filling of heads of argument and setting a date for argument of the application.

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