The Botswana Power Corporation(BPC) employees will finally receive the six percent salary hike following weeks of negotiations. The negotiations between the workers and management came to a close after several postponements on the part of the latter that led to the employees picketing.
Botswana Power Corporation Workers Union (BPCWU) deputy general secretary, Lasten Modo told Mmegi that negotiations were finally concluded on Tuesday.
“After failing to honour negotiation meetings several times the management finally brought a new mandate from the board last Tuesday and the employer moved from zero percent for Cost of Living Adjustment to three percent on top of the three percent they had already offered,” he said.
According to Modo, the demand for six percent was advised by the Government Directive, which saw public servants getting six percent salary hike early this year. The increment will be backdated to April 1, 2015.
However, Modo said all is not settled as they have a burning issue that is still pending, which was also part of the reason the employees picketed. He decried that they have a long-standing issue that was due for arbitration at the labour department today, but the employer has since asked for another postponement.
The employees want to be awarded a three percent salary hike that was awarded to government employees in September 2011 after the public sector strike.
They argue that as chief executive officers in parastatals enjoy perks equal to those of permanent secretaries, it should go down to the employees as well.
The mediator had indicated that the employees be given the increment, which the management rejected stating that it was not binding.
It is expected that today the Labour office arbitrates on the matter and determines whether the matter should be taken to the industrial court.
“They say they have another matter at the Industrial Court in Francistown, which we do not know of,” Modo said, adding that they would be doing all they can to make sure the matter proceeds.
He said they want the matter in Francistown to be postponed as theirs affects all BPC employees. He also argues that it was against practice that the employer wrote to the Labour Commissioner seeking postponement instead of advancing their reasons before the commissioner today providing their valid reasons.
“During the talks we agreed that the management should stop delaying when dealing with issues with direct impact on the welfare of the employees, but they are not taking us seriously,” he said.