Another massive court victory for nurses

Nurses handing in a petition PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Nurses handing in a petition PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE

Following their latest victory before the courts, the Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) has expressed delight, vowing to continue litigating against government for its members' rights.

Justice Galesite Baruti of the Francistown Industrial Court has ruled in favour of nurses over the Call to Duty Policy. Following failure to reach common ground from engaging the employer, the Department of Labour, and eventually getting a certificate of failure to settle from the Commissioner of Labour, the matter was heard by the Industrial Court to determine the outcome.

The nurses wanted government to discontinue Call to Duty, where they are expected to report to duty when required to do so beyond their working hours. Through BONU, the health workers argued that Call to Duty is illegal, encroaches on nurses' rest period and exposes them to abuse by the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM). While government argued that the arrangement is catered for in their fixed 30% overtime allowance, nurses said it is not a reason enough as they also work overtime hours. Justice Baruti ordered that the entire time that nurses and midwives are rostered to be on call constitutes working time for which they must be paid for; the time that a nurse or a midwife accompanies a patient on referral from one medical facility to another medical facility, and back, constitutes working time for which he or she must be paid for.

Editor's Comment
Let the law take its course

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