SELEBI-PHIKWE: While preparations for this year’s salary negotiations are ongoing, Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) and BCL Mine have failed to implement the 2014-2015 wage agreement.
This is despite the fact that the last wage negotiations dragged on for about six months – punctuated with threats of a strike by mine employees over the disputes.
The mine and the union settled last year’s disputes on September 15 under the terms that a pay structure review will be undertaken in accordance with the terms of reference.
Also, the project plan was to be developed by a joint task team in which the two parties would have an equal number of representatives.
The pay structure review was expected to run beyond the scope of the substantive agreement and was to be completed in accordance with the project plan. However, BCL only effected six percent increase across the board on basic salaries for the employees on job grades P1 to AO3.
When contacted for a comment, public relations and marketing manager James Molosankwe said the mine is still in talks with the union and the two parties are following what they have agreed. “There is progress made, but we cannot say whether we are on the timeline or not. We are unable to confirm whether we are on timeline or lagging behind,” he said.
Molosankwe assured employees that they are doing what they can in their best interest. Contrary to Molosankwe’s position, BMWU spokesperson and vice president, Joseph Tsimako, accused management of delay tactics in having the project plan and terms of reference completed by December as agreed.
“They started arguing on the number of representatives as they wanted to bring 10 people on the team, while the union brings only four. This took us the whole of November and December before they could agree to comply with the agreement,” he added.
BCL management, also in the last agreement, committed itself to gradually adjusting the annual bonus from the current five percent to 8.33 percent of the basic salary over a period of three years from the date of agreement.
The company also committed that it shall in the next five years from the date of agreement, subject to availability of funds, renovate or improve and modify hostel accommodation into studio type to phase out the current communal facilities.
Employees who lose the benefits of company accommodation as a result of these modifications shall be entitled to housing allowance in accordance with company policy.