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BMWU, Botash wage negotiations deadlocked

CHAKALISA DUBE
Soda Ash Mine
FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) and Botswana Ash (Botash) have declared a dispute after the two parties could not agree on the implementation of the 2020 wage agreement.

The agreement was supposed to effect from April 1, this year. However, the mine management notified the union of its inability to implement the agreement due to the impact brought by COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the wage deal, both parties had agreed on a salary increase of four percent across the board as well as increasing the shift allowance by four percent for employees on the F19 rate.  According to the wage agreement, the standby allowance was to be increased by four percent for the employees on the F19 rate.  “Furthermore, there will be an additional one percent for individual performance applied in accordance with the company’s performance based merit criteria,” reads a document detailing the wage agreement between the union and the mine.

After the mine’s position that it cannot pay salaries it was agreed that the matter be taken for discussion at the joint negotiation and consultative committee. The joint negotiation and consultative committee features representatives from both Botash and BMWU.

The joint negotiation and consultative committee held two meetings recently, where Botash offered to increase the employees’ salaries on condition that

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the mine meets monthly baseline revenue of P85 million for three consecutive months or 90 days.

At the end of 90 days the mine also want to be given the liberty to assess the performance outlook and projections to determine implementation.  On the other hand, the union wanted the salary increase to be effected beginning July 9, 2020 without any conditions. The union believes the recent proposal from the Botash management is unfair and was made in bad faith.

“Parties resolved to take the matter for discussion at the joint negotiation and consultative committee. The parties ultimately met on the 8th of July where an agreement was not reached.

The parties met again on Wednesday this week and no agreement was reached and a dispute was ultimately declared,” reads a statement signed by the mine management and BMWU leadership declaring a dispute.

Yesterday, BMWU spokesperson confirmed that the two parties have declared a dispute.

“We have failed to settle the matter. Since a dispute has been declared we will now approach the labour office to arbitrate at a date that is yet to be set.”



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