In a marathon case that dates back to 2013 nurses stationed at the National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS) have won a lawsuit against government in which they demanded to be paid overtime nurse allowance.
In a ruling at the Francistown High Court, Justice Bengbame Sechele brought to the end the five year battle between nurses and the employer by ordering that the nurses be paid retrospectively.
The six nurses based in Francistown and an unconfirmed number based in Gaborone were left out of the 30% nurse allowance paid to their counterparts serving in clinics and hospitals.
Their victorious lawyer, David Ditiro of Ditiro Legal Practitioners, told The Voice in an interview that government’s contention was that the said nurses did not qualify for the allowance as they were not practicing nurses.
“Our stand has always been that, these are qualified nurses who deserve the same treatment accorded other nurses. They are nurses who are required to keep valid their practicing licences at all times,” said Ditiro. I was only representing six nurses based in Francistown, but this judgement will also benefit other nurses based in Gaborone,” Ditiro said.
The nurses wanted the High Court to declare that National Blood Transfusion Services nurses be entitled to Nurses Overtime allowance in terms of Public Service Management Directive No. 18 of 1998.
They also demanded to be paid arrears of such allowance for the duration that each of them was employed by the NBTS within 30 days of the court’s judgement.
The factual background to this matter is that the 1998 PSM Directive introduced commuted overtime allowance payable to practicing nurses up to Senior Nursing Sister Grade C1 at the rate of 15% of the officer’s monthly salary.
In 2001 a PSM Directive increased the allowance to 30%.
It was only in 2009 that government started paying nurses stationed at NBTS an overtime allowance at the rate of 15% of their basic salary.
In 2013 government took a decision to extend payment of the 30% commuted overtime allowance to all practicing nurses who regularly work extended hours. “Following this suit in 2013 government started paying NBTS nurses allowance at a rate of 30%,” Ditiro said.
In his judgement on Wednesday Justice Sechele said the plaintiffs have been practicing nurses from the date of their employment as they are holders of practicing certificates.
“There’s therefore no dispute regarding their position as practicing nurses,” said Sechele.
He then ordered that the six nurses be paid arrears of the 30% commuted allowance to be reckoned from the respective dates of their deployment to NBTS.
He further said for the period that they were receiving 15% computing should be limited to the difference between what government paid them and what each of them ought to have been paid.
“Such payment is to be effected within 30 days from the date thereof,” Sechele said.