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The Industrial Court reserves ruling on effect of Its judgme...
13/05/11

Following an urgent application by the Government to the Industrial Court on Sunday 8 May 2011 seeking an order declaring that the strike by public officers in essential services remains illegal and unprotected notwithstanding the appeal filed by the Unions, the Court has postponed its ruling until Tuesday 10 May at 1430.
It will be recalled that the Court had ruled on 6 May 2011 that the strike in essential services was illegal and unprotected, and that public servants in essential services should return to work. The Unions had immediately noted an appeal and advised their members that this had the effect of suspending the judgment which had been issued in favour of the Government.

This is why the Government had approached the Industrial Court to declare that such appeal did not suspend its decision that the strike remained illegal and unprotected.

At this hearing, which lasted all night on Sunday 8 May, the Unions sought a postponement, which was granted, and then they sought the recusal of the presiding judge, which was refused. Thereafter, the Unions raised a number of preliminary technical points and objections, which related to whether the Court had jurisdiction to entertain an application to enforce its own judgment after an appeal had been noted against such judgment. This is the point on which judgment was reserved until Tuesday 10 May. 

In the meantime, the Government wishes to advise that any full or partial withdrawal of labour, or stay away from work by employees engaged in essential services is in breach of their contracts of employment, terms and conditions of service, collective labour agreements concluded between the Government and the unions, the Trade Disputes Act, Cap. 48:01; and  the Public Service Act, No. 30 of 2008.

Disciplinary action, including summary dismissal if warranted, will be taken against any employees within essential services as defined by the law or performing essential services who fail to report for duty.

Essential services recognized and protected by law are: Air traffic control services, Botswana Vaccine Laboratory, Electricity services, Fire services, Bank of Botswana, Health services, Operational and maintenance services of the Railways, Sewerage services, Transport and telecommunications services necessary to the operation of any of the foregoing services, and Water services.

The public is further informed that the Government will be taking the necessary steps within the law intended to secure the health, well being and welfare of the nation and to minimize injury and danger to the public. 

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