A total of 25 Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) employees have written a letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly appealing termination of their employment contracts.
In their appeal, the employees stated that their appeal to the Council’s Executive Committee had fallen on deaf ears. “Our efforts to meet Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture on February, 5, 2015 had not borne fruit since he declined to meet us. In the circumstances, the undersigned members of staff hereby appeal the matter to your good self,” they wrote.
The employees are of the view that the Executive Director’s decision to terminate their employment contracts was procedurally and substantively unfair, and should be set aside and declared null and void.
The employees have been ordered to vacate BNYC offices today.
The letter further revealed that the recent announcement of a restructuring exercise gave them legitimate expectation that their contracts of employment would be renewed, or they would be redeployed to other departments within the BNYC.
They cite a provision in their contracts, which promised that their employment contracts would be extended upon satisfactory performance of their duties.
“The employees had a legitimate expectation that since their performance has been satisfactory (and the employer has not said otherwise) their contracts of employment would be renewed,” they said.
They further said their employer was using the restructuring process as an excuse to retrench them. They also accused the executive director of making a unilateral decision to retrench them without a resolution of the Executive Committee, adding that he usurped the mandate of the Executive Committee. “Even if the executive director’s decision, is in terms of a resolution of the Executive committee, which we dispute, the executive committee’s decision would be ultra vires its mandate to the extent it acted without a resolution of the General Assembly of the Council,” the letter stated.
The chairman of the Parliamentary committee on Youth, Sport and Culture Sethomo Lelatisitswe confirmed that they were handling the matter. “We could have met yesterday because the committee cannot seat without the Speaker’s approval. Our committee has to discuss and make resolutions or recommendations on the issue after listening to all parties,” he said. He added that their committee had the power to refer the matter to labour office if they had found out labour laws had not been followed.
Minister of Youth Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng, recently told Parliament that the restructuring exercise would not result in job losses. He further said his ministry would only make an official statement once the project was completed.
The MP was scheduled to table a motion this morning, demanding full investigation of financial transactions at BNYC and whether labour laws were followed when retrenchment was implemented. Olopeng said he was not aware that the matter was referred to the Clerk National Assembly.