Shutdown: BURS workers strike

Marenga and Akoonyatse at the Industrial Court.Pic.Kagiso Onkatswitse
Marenga and Akoonyatse at the Industrial Court.Pic.Kagiso Onkatswitse

Following the Industrial Court decision to grant the more than 1,000 BOPEU members permission to engage in industrial action against BURS, the two parties have come up with rules for the strike. More than 1,000 workers are expected to engage in the strike starting today. Reports OARABILE MOSIKARE

As more than 1,000 employees of Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) go on strike today, the parties involved have come up with picketing and strike rules that will apply to Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) members.

BURS employees total 1,400 with 1,372 belonging to a bargaining unit while the rest  are part of management. The better part of Wednesday, the parties were locked in a meeting to finalise the rules. But the parties failed to decide on the provision of minimum service during the industrial action.

“For the first 14 days of the industrial action the employer shall not be entitled to make use of replacement labour; and in the event that the industrial action extends beyond 14 days the employer shall be at liberty to make use of replacement,” reads one of the rules.

In order to ensure compliance with the rules regulating the strike, BOPEU shall ensure that the full identities and contact details of strike marshals are availed to BURS or their representatives at the start of the strike as and when they are reasonably required. “It shall be the duty of the marshals to enforce security and proper conduct during the strike. The employer in consultation with the union or vice versa may call the police only if there is reasonable apprehension of the breach of peace or law and in particular if there is violence anticipated.”

BOPEU shall notify the employer of any point of assembly and the time of such gatherings.

“No intoxicating, illegal, unauthorised, habit forming and/or stupefying drugs, including alcohol may be brought to assembly points at employer’s premises. Vandalism of public property during the strike shall constitute serious misconduct. All assembly points occupied by employees on strike shall be kept neat and tidy by BOPEU,” reads part of the rules.  BOPEU shall appoint a convenor, who will be their member overseeing the picket, at every workplace where a picket will be organised. The picket may be held in a public place outside the premises of the employer. Picketers may not forcefully prevent members of the public, including customers, other employees of BURS and service providers from gaining access to or leaving the premises of the employer. “Picketers must not commit any action which may be unlawful, including violent action; intimidate, coerce, threaten or assault any employee or person participating or not participating in the picket... cause damage to property.”

The employer may not directly or indirectly hinder the conduct of a lawful picket. The employer may not intimidate, threaten or otherwise undermine any employee’s right to participate in the picket. Management must refrain from behaviour which is provocative or which incite violence and intimidation. The management may not also take disciplinary action against an employee for participating in a lawful picket.  “All matter arising from the conduct or incidental to the strike shall be referred to the mediator.” Also there shall be an application of no work no pay. “The employer shall not remunerate or pay an employee for services that an employee has not rendered during the industrial action.”

Editor's Comment
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