Thursday, July 7, 2022

Mupane Gold mine re-negotiates salary increase with employees

Mupane Gold Mine management has retreated back to the negotiation table after the mine employees had threatened to down tools and strike over salary increment.

The 111 employees represented by Botswana Miners Workers Union (BMWU) had demanded the gold mining company to increase their salaries from 4 percent to 13 percent and to also afford them full annual bonuses.

This led to a stalemate between the two parties forcing the employees to iniatiate a strike. The employees are demanding a salary increase to cushion them from the high inflation rate. The mine has since cited financial challenges as the main reason why it cannot meet their salary increase demand.

In an interview with the Sunday Standard last week BMWU General Secretary Maenge Maenge said they met with the mine management at the Labour Department offices in Francistown were they agreed to negotiate further.

“They had initially settled for a 4 percent increase. We did not agree to the 4 percent but we settled for 8 percent which they also refused. We were in the process of launching a strike and had already drafted strike rules. They finally agreed with the mediator to go back to the drawing table to decide on how much increment they can offer looking at the inflation rate. I think they did that to try and avert the looming strike. They will give us feedback on Wednesday,” he said.

Mupane Gold Mine which is a conventional open pit and underground mine is the only miner of gold in the country. It is owned by Galane Gold Pty Ltd, a Toronto based company in Canada.

Maenge also said they have since made a proposal to management that there should be a protection clause regarding the increment that will be decided by the employer. The protection clause will help the union negotiate further should the parties fail to agree on the increment offered. The Union has also accused the mine for hiding its financial affairs away from the union.

“We approached management over this issue and what they simply told us is that their audited financial reports are handled in Canada by Galane Gold which is the parent company and there is nothing they can do for now. They also told us that salary structures are done in Canada,” he said.

Regarding the yearly bonus issue, Maenge said they still have not been paid the bonuses that were due to them last year. He however said they have since declared the issue a dispute and will raise it with the company once the salary increment impasse is resolved.

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