Union work is voluntary and as such should come second to the job that members have been hired to do, said the management of Standard Chartered Bank of Botswana (SCBB) in response to allegations of victimization of Botswana Bank Employees Union (BOBEU) members at the workplace.
The union has accused management of the bank of being vindictive towards union members.
“We feel that management has plans to purge out union leaders and active members so as to have free reign to suppress employees with unacceptable work practices and flout procedures on fair Labour Procedures,” said Keitshokile Basuti, Secretary General of BOBEU.
On the 29th of October, BOBEU handed a petition to SCBB management in which they raised their grievances and the issue of harassed union members was brought forward.
The two had been involved in spats over salary increase disputes, bulk and dusk allowances, disciplinary procedures, temporary staff, as well as professionalism of managers amongst other subjects.
When responding to some of the concerns from the petition, the bank disclosed that it was in a position to sit and discuss the issues with the union, should they otherwise seek clarification or explanations on the position of the bank.
In the petition to management, BOBEU reveals its ‘discontent with SCBB for implementing affairs without consent from the union. BOBEU said that despite having the collective Bargaining Agreement, the Bank had just resorted to implementing matters before further negotiations and agreement with BOBEU, for instance, Consequence management extended working hours and Staff loans without consent from the union, which led to the issue being reported to the Labour Department for mediation. In the petition, Basuti had said that as the union, they had observed that there were many unfair labour practices and breeches by management to frustrate union rights.
“We have realized that Union activities have curtailed union bashing attitudes and tactics on the many issues of negotiations and consultation. Management does not follow procedures, including handling of staff issues which are governed by policy and superseded by the law of this country,” said Basuti.
Commenting on the issue of the consequence management, SCBB said that BOBEU was advised of the change in name to Key Control Standards Breach/Offences to align to current disciplinary policy and of managements implementation date in the letter dated 30 July 2010
“If any union official believes that they are unfairly treated for being in the union despite their good performance they should highlight this to management and also follow the grievance procedure as outlined in the HR Policy manual, “said the bank.