CDC fire fighters to get overtime payment

Fire fighters on duty
Fire fighters on duty

The Central District Council (CDC) will finally compensate 64 fire personnel in Serowe and Palapye for excess working hours.

According to a letter from the council secretary, Gothaetse Dipholo, to the Botswana Land Board Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU), the employees who have been kept waiting since 2013 will be paid by December 31.

According to BLLAHWU secretary general, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, the payment is for overtime work emanating from an unlawful and unreasonable long shift rotary which resulted in their members working for 16 hours per shift.

“It happened that fire officers who work in Serowe and Palapye Administrative Authority were made to unlawfully and unreasonably work long shift rotary that resulted in the stipulated employees working for 16 hours per shift.

This is a matter that comes afar and council was refusing to pay the employees for such shifts,” Motshegwa said.

The union took the matter up with the council, which refused to pay the employees. Ultimately the union took the matter to the Commissioner of Labour for Alternative Dispute resolution where a certificate of failure to settle was issued as council continued with refusal for payment. 

The union then lodged the matter with the Industrial Court upon which the CDC now agreed to pay the outstanding monies due to employees.  In a related matter, BLLAHWU has given DPSM up to the end of December to correct a savingram that caused confusion on the Diploma in Accounting Holders and AAT Holders scarce skills allowance effective date.

BLLAHWU had submitted the matter to DPSM for payment of scarce skill allowance to holders of Diploma in Accounting. The court had ruled that they be paid effective September 2009.  According to Motshegwa, at a meeting between the union and DPSM in August 2015, the employer assured the union that such payments would be implemented and the director wrote a memorandum on 10th August 10, 2015 authorising the payment. “The challenge with such a memo by the director of DPSM is that there has been misinterpretation of court judgements pertaining to the matter at hand.

That is because the judgement pertaining to holders of Diploma in Accounting state that payment commences from September 2009 while that for AAT holders commences from April 24, 2015. 

“Now stating that the payment for scarce skill for both AAT holders and Diploma in Accounting, the DPSM assumed this as a single matter whereas it is in fact two different matters,” he said. Motshegwa argues that the implementation therefore should be such that for holders of Diploma in Accounting the implementation date is September 1, 2009 while for AAT it should be April 24, 2015.

“This we have duly relayed to the Director of DPSM at a meeting between herself and the Union on November 23, 2015. The discussion was that there be correction of implementation dates in accordance with the judgements and not according to the savingram by the director,” he said.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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