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40 former employees sue BMC for withheld pay

40 former employees sue BMC for withheld pay
LAWYER: Uyapo Ndadi

Over forty former employees of the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) are suing the embattled parastatal for failure to pay their full retrenchment packages.

The disgruntled former employees have already served BMC with a letter of demand through their attorney, Uyapo Ndadi of Ndadi law firm.

“In the premises, we have been instructed to demand, as we hereby do, that clients be paid their full retrenchment package (less what has already been paid to them) within seven days of receipt of this letter,” the letter of demand stated and added that, “unless we receive payment or an undertaking to pay within seven days, we have been instructed to proceed to court without much ado.”

BMC embarked on a retrenchment process from 2015 aimed at restructuring and to improve its efficiency and service delivery.

The parastatal then engaged staff, including the unionised ones, through their union BMC industry workers union.

Pursuant to the talks between BMC and the union, an agreed exit package was negotiated and agreed upon.

They agreed on a payment of 26 working days for each year worked; a monthly salary for each year worked.

Despite the above, employees whose payment is below P42 000.00 were to receive P42 000.00.

Further they were entitled to notice pay of five months salary, medical aid treatment or membership for three months, company housing where applicable, relocation expresses of P6 000.00, ordinary loans settlement before termination and leave pay among other benefits.

However BMC is said to have reneged on the agreement, unilaterally deciding instead to pay using its own separate and reduced package.

It paid, “Twelve months wages as opposed to twenty-six days for each year worked, accrued gratuity, accrued leave and two months notice as opposed to five months,” Ndadi noted.

He further added that, “It is needless to say that as a result of this disparity in the packages, our client suffered huge financial losses as some have worked for BMC for over 40 years. This therefore means that in a case of an employee who has worked 40 years, BMC withheld 28 months pay plus 3 months notice pay.”

BMC have confirmed receipt of the notice.