WUC loses court case to employees

Bame Piet
Department of Water Affairs

Discriminated staff to be paid 100 millions of pula

The Water Utilities Corporation has been slapped with a multi-million pula bill to settle after its employees successfully challenged their multitasking deployments at the high court.

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Customer Service Foremen, and Pipefitters dragged their employer to the High Court complaining that since February 2013 they have been performing work which falls outside the scope of their profiles.

They wanted CCS Foremen to be placed at Band 7 and Pipefitters to be placed at Band 6 of the WUC pay structure respectively, with effect from February 2013. They also demanded a 10 percent interest on the amounts paid to the cadres with effect from February 2013.

The employees told the court that the CCS foreman job profile was clear but those deployed to rural or cluster areas were forced to perform extra duties that fell outside their job profiles.

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The CCS foreman argued that they were not rewarded for multitasking and that the Water Works foremen, Customer Care Services foremen, Distribution Foremen, Water Supply Foremen, and Waste Water Foremen were upgraded even though they were not listed in multi-tasking memo that was circulated in the company.

The Pipefitters said they were multitasking but their request for upgrading from Band 4 to Band 5 fell on deaf ears. The extra duties included monitoring tank levels, bulk meter reading, operating boreholes, unblocking sewage pipes, staff house maintenance and carpentry fixes.

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The employees further complained that their counterparts in Gaborone and other urban areas were not forced to multitask since the Gaborone office had specific employees performing specific tasks and duties.

Senior Organisational Development Manager Letlhokwa Motladiile said a consultant Hay Group Company was engaged in job evaluation exercise and some positions were upgraded, others downgraded and status of some positions maintained. He said Pipefitters and Customer Care Foreman profiles were not re-evaluated.

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He said the positions affected by multitasking were Waterworks Superintendent, Waterworks Foremen, Network Attendants and Labourers

He added that it was resolved that the salary band for pipefitters remain at Band 4; that the different types of Pipefitters depended on where each employee was stationed; and that at a cluster setting, a pipe-fitter would do different components of pipefitting, but not regarded as multitasking.

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Justice Michael Leburu said that WUC had failed to counter the evidence of the employees on their multitasking outside their job profiles.

“The Defendant conceded that at various clusters, there was no specialisation, unlike in Cities and Towns. The employees ought to have been upgraded accordingly. The defendant has further failed to rebut the evidence of the witnesses.

“On a balance of probabilities, I find that the plaintiff has proved its case against the defendant. It is declared that the employees were multitasking and performed other duties outside the remit of their job profiles, since February 2013,”said the Judge

He ordered that the affected employees be upgraded from Band 4 to Band 5 with effect from February 2013 plus a 10 percent interest with effect from the date. WUC to pay the costs.

The attorney for the employees Mothoothata Lesole confirmed that the matter affects around 120 employees and the cost is likely to run into over P10 million.

The messy arrangement came as a result of WUC merger with the Department of Water Affairs.

Meanwhile The Voice investigations has revealed that WUC pay structure starts at Band 4 bottom notch at P14,186 per month.

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