ALL SMILES AFTER ALL: Negotiating parties at the Public Service Bargaining Council have agreed a 6 percent salary hike, among other perks for public servants at salary scale D1 and below. It was a happy ending for the union and government parties on Thursday. BOFEPUSU, the Federation for public unions welcomed the conclusion of the negotiations.
Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) has finally concluded the salary talks and agreed on an increase of 6% across board for mostly lower cadre employees who are on salary Grades D1 and below.
“The Council has resolved that a salary increase of 6% be awarded to all employees on salary grades D1 and below for the financial year 2015/16 effective 1st April 2015,” stated PSBC General Secretary Patlala Ulaula.
In relation to Conditions of service, the Bargaining Council resolved that employees on salary Grades D1 and below will be entitled to full pay for the duration of their studies (in service training) effective 1st April 2015.
A new allowance for Housing and Upkeep has been introduced and will also effect on 1st April 2015.
The applicable rates for the allowance include a P200 monthly fee for those on D1 to C3 scale. Those on C4 notch will get a monthly allowance of P250 and B1 scale to B5 will be awarded P280 while P330 will be reimbursed to those on A1 to A3.
However, with regard to Remote Area Service Allowance (RASA), it was decided that the employer party (government) should engage the trade union party further in dealing with the implementation challenges of the allowance. The Council also noted that, in matters of overtime allowance, management should ensure that overtime is effectively managed and that payment thereof is in compliance with the law that regulate overtime.
“This came after the council observed that trade union’s demand was in line with the existing policy as stipulated in section 12 (1) – (6) of the Public service Regulations of 2010,” states the resolution paper on the negotiations. The management was also advised that they should administer effectively the challenges relating to implementation of leave encashment.
Meanwhile the parties deferred other items pending further research and investigation by the parties and there was in agreement that they will be brought back to the Council at a time to be determined by them.
These included, “payment of entertainment allowance to all officers on salary Grade D1, enhancement of subsistence allowance, pension contribution for employees on salary grades A to A3 and lastly medical aid contribution for employees on salary grades B1 and below.”
Furthermore, it was noted that negotiations on the proposed salary adjustment for all public service employees for the subsequent years should be undertaken between the months of September and October each year in order to align the public service negotiations with the government budgeting cycle.
Kebonye Moepeng represented employer party and Ketlhalefile Motshegwa was standing on behalf of unions and the agreement was facilitated by Tsetsele Fantan. As an independent facilitator, Mrs Fantan was appointed to preside over the negotiation meetings and assist parties to reach an agreement on the current negotiations.
Other government employees not covered by the negotiations are said to be also affected by the increase except the housing and upkeep allowance.
According to the General Secretary of the Bargaining Council Patlala Ulaula, the negotiations were held in an environment of mutual respect and a spirit of ‘give and take’ which led to an amicable conclusion of 2014/16 negotiations. “The Council would like to take this opportunity to thank the public service employees for their patience during the negotiation process,” he said.
The trade union party submitted their proposal for negotiations on salary and conditions of service for the year 2015/16 on 25 November 2015 in accordance with the provisions of the rules of procedures for meetings and negotiations.
The employer party also submitted her counter proposal to the trade union’s submission for negotiations on salary and conditions of service for the said year as according to the rules.
The negotiations commenced on the 25th February 2015 following several postponements due to disagreements between negotiating parties.
However soon after the negotiations concluded on Thursday afternoon, April 2, 2015, the union leaders expressed delight at the positive attitude of government towards the civil service this time around.
The Secretary General of the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU), Tobokani Rari said that the positive attitude has bestowed the reputation of the national bargaining council contrary to what has been happening for the past years where the employer was rigid and uncooperative.
“We proposed 15% and they proposed 4% but we ended up at 6% an indication that the the bargaining was in good faith. Our view is that there is a greater achievement beyond salary increase and that is the restoration of a mature bargaining council,” Rari expressed his satisfaction.
He further said they are particularly happy at the structuring of the housing and upkeep allowances because by its introduction the employer has addressed what the union has been complaining about for years.
“This differential increment where the low-earning workers are getting something high than the high-earning workers have been addressed in this allowance and we hope and pray for more,” Rari further pointed out.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.