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BX drivers claim P7 Million from Gov’t

Publishing Date : 19 January, 2017


Justice Motswagole

Fifty-five (55) industrial class employees have dragged the Ministry of Transport and Communications before the Gaborone High court demanding close to P7 Million of unpaid subsistence and overtime allowances.

The 55 are said to be working as drivers of the Ministry’s transport fleet. They claim not to have been paid the allowances for the past 21 years. On the contrary, the Ministry which is represented by Attorney General maintain that the employees have been paid their dues.

The matter is yet to be argued before court, but was on roll call before Justice Motswagole, Friday morning. The background of the conflict is that, sometime in June 1995, a Public Service Management Directive number 15 of 1995 was issued by the Ministry’s Roads Department whose content was that all industrial class employees who spend weekends away from their duty station are entitled to their full wages plus whatever applicable overtime. In addition to this, they are also entitled to subsistence allowance. Such entitlement effected from 20th June, 1995 when the said directorate came to effect.

Further, In November the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) issued a notice to clarify the directorate and of relevance was the paragraphs that stated, “that if the industrial class employee is called upon to perform any official duties during such Saturday or Sunday, he/she will be paid the normal rate multiplied by two for any hours he/she was on duty” and “that subsistence allowance is paid at the prevailing rate per night for this duration of the official trip.”

However despite the directorate the employees claim that the employer failed, refused or neglected to make any payments to them in respect of their claims.

In court papers before court, they further maintain that they have pursued the matter and made numerous representations to the Ministry since the issuance of the directive and have tried to no avail to seek any internal remedies.

“However up to date the plaintiff, continue to be deployed on trips during weekends and public holidays despite the fact that they are not being paid for the same. Rather the plaintiff are only offered and paid commuted subsistence allowance each time they work during such weekends and public holidays,” their case file reads in part.

To circumvent its obligation to pay, the Ministry is said to have devised a stratagem that is not only an unfair labour practice but is also wrongful in that the “Defendant now keeps conveniently transferring the industrial class workers, including the plaintiffs from one category to other categories as and when such employees have to work on weekends or during public holidays.”

At the time of filing the case, the total outstanding arrears due to the complainants, according to the claim documents, stood at stood at P6 685 067-26. The amount was calculated from 1995 since the directive came to effect. Over that the employees demand payment of the same amount with an interest of 10% per annum from date of accrual up to day of payment.

The workers are represented by Othusitse Mbeha of Duma Boko Attorneys while the Ministry is represented by Trenorrah Begane of Attorney General’s Chambers. The matter is returnable before court in December.



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