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BOFEPUSU makes demands on Masisi

Publishing Date : 29 January, 2018

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

Incoming President, Mokgweetsi Masisi has a long list of demands from the Botswana Federation of Public, Private Parastatals Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) – which if he meets, is guaranteed the Federation’s votes come 2019.  


The federation, which threw its weight behind the umbrella coalition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the last general elections, has been at odds with government for some time now.  Going into the 2014 general elections, BOFEPUSU had a notorious hit list of politicians, among them Masisi. The union has for a long time fingered the Vice President for destroying labour relations in this country. However, the union’s publicity secretary, Mogomotsi Motshegwa this week called on Masisi to restore the now ruined relations.


“He should seriously improve labour relations in the country especially employer-employee relations which are at their lowest. This would include the restoration of the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). Not just that, but ensuring it is independent and it works without fear or favour of being sabotaged by those with political connections.”


The Federation which for a long time has been vocal on labour issues, eventually prompting and leading the historic 2011 industrial strike Also called on to the VP to repeal draconian laws, especially the amended Trade Dispute Act “which placed everyone as an essential service consequently contravening section 87 of Trade Dispute Act”.


The proposed amendment of the Public Service Act in which all the recognized unions will seat at the PSBC, should also be scrapped post April 1st. “It will cause anarchy, instead there should be a joint agreement not to have many representatives there,” Motshegwa highlighted. BOFEPUSO’s relationship with Masisi has not improved since 2011 when he was still Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration and have constantly maintained that they relate with him as they do government.


That notwithstanding, the union says if Masisi assures them that their requests will be met, they will definitely consider scrapping him off the hit list in the upcoming elections. “If he can meet our demands we will listen to him. In fact anyone listening to us we will consider. Gare batle di-party tsa bo chekwane, they should respect us even though we might disagree.


We will furnish him with our workers manifesto so he knows our stance which will be the guiding principle to those who want our vote,” Samuel Molaodi who is the union’s education secretary categorically stated. Further, the Federation wants Masisi to lift the advertising ban on private media; they believe that the current retrenchments in the industry are caused by the government’s decision to impose the ban on private media.


SALARY INCREMENT

According to the Federation, the government has roped in a Malaysian company to carry out a study on public service remuneration system and performance management system. The findings of the study will be used at the PSBC to map the way forward, especially on improving conditions of service. The union on the other hand is carrying out the same study through Tsa Badiri Consultancy for comparison. The union is however unhappy over the government’s decision to rope in the company without their input and most importantly the huge amount of money that will pay the Malaysian company.


PROGRESS ON ILO RECOMENDATIONS

BOFEPUSO will on June this year present their case to the International Labour Organization (ILO) following the peripheral decision taken by government in implementing last year’s recommendations by the workers’ body. Botswana was listed amongst 23 countries that violated Labour laws following the Federation’s report to the Committee of Experts on Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR.)


“But this year it will be placed under special paragraph which comprises of countries that are frequently visited to check their progress. This put Botswana at risk of being sanctioned by western countries owing to reluctance,” BOFEPUSO Secretary General Tobokani Rari stated. The government since last year’s meeting has done nothing or little in implementing the suggestions by Committee of Application of Standards (CAS). The recommendations included allowing prisoners to unionize, amending trade dispute act and reporting back to ILO their progress.

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