BMWU appeals Khoemacau judgement

To the streets: Tsimako during today's briefing. The BMWU will lead a march on Wednsday in Maun to hand over a petition to the District Commissioner in protest against working conditions at Khoemacau PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
To the streets: Tsimako during today's briefing. The BMWU will lead a march on Wednsday in Maun to hand over a petition to the District Commissioner in protest against working conditions at Khoemacau PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

The Botswana Mineworkers Union (BMWU) is appealing a recent Industrial Court judgement which ruled against miners in their dispute with Khoemacau Copper Mining over the calculation of overtime.

The Union and mine management differed over a formula to be used for overtime at the mine.

The BMWU had argued that the monthly calculation of how much overtime shift workers are entitled to, should be based on average working hours over two weeks and exclude the third week of rest which is unpaid.

The court however, in upholding Khoemacau’s claims, ruled that the standard should be three weeks, meaning two paid working weeks and the third unpaid rest week.


BMWU president, Joseph Tsimako said the ruling had far-reaching implications for workers in the mining industry and effectively meant miners would be bound to long, 12-hour shifts without overtime compensation.

The Union intends to use its appeal of the Industrial Court action to fight against what it says is a growing trend amongst mining companies to enforce 12-hour per day shifts around the country. The BMWU says at least “99 percent” of mining companies have applied for or already received exemptions from the Commission of Labour to force workers into 12-hour per day shifts.

“We totally condemn the judgement of the Industrial Court in all possible terms and we have already taken appeal on the issue,” Tsimako told a press briefing earlier. “Working these long hours has an impact on workers’ health as well as their families and it was unfortunate that the court agreed with the employer on the calculation of the average hours.”

According to Tsimako, while companies are required to apply for exemptions from the Commissioner of Labour in instances where workers are required to work beyond eight hours a day, the Union suspects that the growing 12-hour shifts do not meet the legal requirement of being “exceptional circumstances”.

“There seems to be collusion between the mining companies and government. “When the companies ask for exemptions they are granted, but the law explains and is clear that the Commissioner must be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances and this exemption must be for a limited period,” Tsimako said.

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The recent Vaccination Day in Motokwe, orchestrated through collaborative efforts between UNICEF, USAID, BRCS, and the Ministry of Health, underscores a commendable stride towards fortifying child health services.The painful reality as reflected by the Ministry of Health's data regarding the decline in routine immunisation coverage since the onset of the pandemic, is a cause for concern.It underscores the urgent need to address the...

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