The pay disparity legal battle between Statistics Botswana and the union representing affected employees, Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) rages on, seven years after it started in 2012.
Notwithstanding a high court judgment in 2016 ordering Statistics Botswana to pay the workers their dues from 2012 and correct the salary disparities, SB is yet to implement the decision by Justice Gaopalelwe Ketlogetswe. Justice Ketlogetswe ruled in favour of the workers, dismissing an application by SB lawyer which sought to have salary disparities lawsuit thrown out. “The disparity in the pay structure where employees doing the same job at the same level and holding same or similar qualifications are remunerated differently is declared unlawful. Employees performing the same functions, at the same level of operation, duties and having the same qualifications are declared to be entitled to the same remuneration,” reads Justice Ketlogetswe’s judgement
Even after forming a salary grievances task force, SB management still refused to implement its recommendation to adjust salaries of employees to address disparities. The salary grievances task force noted that there had been some huge inconsistencies in salary migration at the positions of enumerator, data entry clerks, and accounts clerks and data entry operators.
The case has been postponed to December 05, by Magistrate Rahim Khan of Broadhurst Regional Magistrate Court, following an application by SB lawyer Diba Diba who argued that he only became aware of the resumption of the case on Monday.
The salary dispute dates back to 2012 when Central Statistics Office- a government department- transformed into a parastatal and introduced a new pay structure. Employees disadvanataged by the salary disparities dragged SB to court after the new pay structure caused changes where some junior officers earned salaries higher than their supervisors. They decried being disadvantaged over their colleagues because of huge gaps in salaries between employees holding the same qualification, doing the same job of the same value.
Workers also complain that management has started the restructuring process this week without involving consulting their union representative about the exercise.
“The restructuring exercise is ongoing and employees are addressed on individual basis. We have written the letter to management not to continue with the restructiuring process without consulting BOPEU. We will soon interdict the process,” said one worker. According to staff the restructuring exercise is to weaken their momentum, instill fear to proceed over the salary disparity matter.
Meanwhile, the reinstated Human Resource Officer Marang Teisi is involved in another legal standoff with SB following her reinstatement on 1st March 2019. Teisi demands payment for all benefits such as medical, pension, salaries and allowance that staff enjoyed fully during her absence from work since 2016. She has since served SB with court papers. SB is reluctant to meet her demands. SB management has written a letter to Teisi arguing that she failed to clearly state in her submissions to court that she wants all her dues to be paid from the time she was dismissed from work.