Mmegi Online :: Agric ministry employees sue over non payment
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Tuesday 20 November 2018, 13:46 pm.
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Agric ministry employees sue over non payment

Employees in the Ministry of Agriculture have taken their employer to court over a dispute that arose from unpaid salaries following a directive order that was issued in 2005 and settlement agreement reached between the two parties in 2012.
By Mpho Mokwape Thu 21 Jan 2016, 12:34 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Agric ministry employees sue over non payment








The 17 applicants appeared before the Industrial Court Judge, Isaac Bahuma, arguing that the ministry failed to honour a settlement agreement that was entered into by the parties on July 26, 2012.

Through their lawyer, Uyapo Ndadi, the applicants submitted that the application was for the settlement agreement following the ministry’s failure to implement a directive that was used in 2005 for the employees to be fully paid.

“This matter dates back to 2005 in which a directive was issued from the Director of Public Service Management directing the implementation of scheme of service for employees under general administration,” he said.

Ndadi said the scheme of service was supposed to be in terms of  Directive No. 13 of 2005 and was supposed to have been fully implemented and completed by April 1, 2006 but to date nothing had been done. He explained that after the failure to implement, a dispute arose and was referred to the commissioner for mediation in terms of the Trade Disputes Act.

“Mediation was concluded on July 26, 2012 and the parties reached a settlement agreement. A certificate of settlement was issued in accordance for the full payment of employees,” he said.

Ndadi argued that at the time of the settlement agreement, the ministry agreed that the employees who were at B4 at the time the issuance of the directive was made, would be assimilated in line with the provisions of the directive and also agreed to pay the applicants salary differences between the time that they were promoted to B3 in 2010.

He maintained that the exercise was to be completed by September 30, 2012 but to date the exercise had not been

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completed hence the application before court seeking a redress on the matter.

In terms of the application being brought before court without referral certificate from the mediator, Ndadi said the matter had already been dealt with and that the applicants were entitled to approach court without any such certificate.

He said even according to the Trade Disputes Acts such provisions existed and on the matter being urgent, Ndadi dismissed the argument saying it was not brought on urgency therefore there was no need to consider the urgency part.

However, state attorney, Neo Sharp, argued that the matter was urgent and that it should be treated as such.

She said the matter should not be argued on merits, raising points in limine saying the applicants did not follow the right procedure in bringing the matter before court.

“According to sections in the Trade Disputes Act, applicants may refer their dispute which has already been mediated upon under the Act in question to the Industrial Court for determination. The applicants have not employed the procedure but instead approached court without the required referral certificate,” she said.

Sharp argued that the manner in which the applicants had gone about the implementation of what they sought, was unprocedural, noting that had the settlement certificate at least been a contract, the applicants would have had to prove its terms as binding and enforcement would be effected.

She said the mediators’ awards were not usually binding therefore the applicants could not approach court and seek an order as they did in their application.

She asked the court to dismiss the matter, especially that the correct procedure was not followed in bringing it before court.

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