Nurses union wars settled out of court

Nurses at a previous conference
Nurses at a previous conference

The suspended executive members of Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) who took the union to court accusing the leadership of multiple transgressions have lost the case. The matter was decided out of court.

Vice president of professional affairs Unangoni Modo and Mmabotswana Rankgomo, who is the national education coordinator, had also accused the union leadership of unlawful extension of their term of office.

Yesterday, legal representatives of both parties met in court and agreed that the applicants were ill-informed and ill-advised.

They agreed that the contention of the applicants that the union executive suspend activities related to infrastructure development and the proposed increase in membership subscriptions was ill advised as that falls within the scope of the executive’s mandate.

On the issue of the extension of the term of office for the executive members, the legal representatives agreed that the term of the committee in office has not elapsed yet further emphasising that the union can still call the annual general meeting. It was further agreed that the term of office expires end of March 2016.

The current executive committee of BONU was elected at the annual general conference held at Francistown from October 25-26, 2012. The applicants had argued that that the constitution of the union allows the executive committee to hold office for a period of three years and every member shall have a limited term of office of two consecutive terms.

The duo in the application argued that “the decision of the committee to postpone the Annual General Conference is unlawful and therefore null and void”.

They further called on the leadership “to immediately issue written notice not less than 60 days to branch members for holding of the Annual General Conference as envisaged in section 27 (2) of the Trade Unions and Employers Organisations Act which was held on the 9th -15th December 2014”.

The two quoted subsection 2 which stipulates that “not more than 15 months shall elapse between the end of one general meeting of a registered trade union and the beginning of the next following annual general meeting of the trade union”.

The applicants contended that the effect of postponing the annual general conference for a year shall invariably extend the tenure of office of the Executive Committee by default as a new committee will not be voted into power due to the postponement.

According to article 9.3.1 of BONU constitution, “the annual general conference of the union shall be convened by the CEC annually”.

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