Workers of Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) have expressed disappointment at the way the company’s management mislead them into believing that it was committed to seeing an end to the strike by compromising on some of their positions regarding the wage disputes.
“What management is doing is destroying the relationship between them and the union, they led us to believe that if we suspended our strike this whole issue would be over by now,” said Jacob Mpasopi, General Secretary of the Botswana Diamond Sorters and Valuators Union (BDSVU).
Termed the longest industrial strike in the country, the DTCB strike had been suspended on its 11th day, which was last week Monday. Reasons given by the BDSVU were that they suspended the strike in a bid to try and accommodate management on its quest to negotiate under a normal working environment.
Mpasopi said that management had asked them to suggest the suspension of the strike to the workers and, in return, they would consider negotiating the workers‘s demands.
“We were therefore surprised by the events that took place on Thursday without our knowledge or any pre-consultations,” said Mpasopi.
On the 29th of October, a memorandum was sent to the DTCB staff and in this memo, management was alerting the workers that it intends to implement unilaterally the last offer it made before the strike. The memo also said that the money would be credited into the workers’s accounts on the 1st of November 2010 at 10 00hours.
Management of DTCB was also offering the union a full and final conditional offer of a once-off payment of P1000 in addition to its standing offer. Management’s position on Cost of Living adjustment was that the workers are given 6 percent, the merit award should be given at 2.15 percent while the transport and gas allowance is P250.
The union’s conditional offer was that for Cost of living Adjustment, the ration should be at 7.5 percent, merit should be given at 2.50 percent while transport and gas allowance should be at P800 per worker.
“What management is trying to do with the P1000 is to buy us off so that we don’t cause anymore trouble. Of course, we can see through the offer and we rejected it. We cannot be bribed to sign an agreement that will only disadvantage the workers,” said Mpasopi.
He added that the union will sit and wait for Monday to see if management will implement its offer as was said on the memo. He said that should this be the case on Monday, the union will have to go back to the drawing board to come up with a plan of action.