Botswana Teachers Union says wage bill not a problem
by Tsaone Segaetsho
The Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) Secretary General, Ibo Nana Kenosi, said the government should not focus too much on the reduction of the wage bill, but rather increase salaries of workers to strengthen their buying power.
This response was after the International Monetary Fund in the last two months advised Botswana to reduce their public wage bill, which was said to be high and hampering economic growth.
Furthermore, the government on the 2012/13 Budget Speech decided to decrease each ministry’s wage bill by 5 percent in 3 years. Kenosi said global economic recession and the wage bill, which is said to be high, is just a terminology that is also used as a tool to avoid engaging on constructive, problem solving ideas.
“There is no need to reduce the wage bill. The workers in Botswana have lost buying power; the prices are high at the shops whilst the buying power is weak. Therefore, the government should consider increasing people salaries,” said Kenosi.
Answering the statement by the IMF, which said the government wage bill is high and should be reduced as it contributes to the country’s economic woes, Kenosi said that he does not see anything wrong with the wage bill as there are many factors which lead to the government expenditure being too high.
He said the government should consider focusing on other things that slow the economy. He also said the IMF’s statement is far off on answering the country’s economic problems. The BTU, as an affiliate of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSO) and is already in talks to negotiate proposals on salary increment. For now the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) is to schedule a meeting next week Tuesday to discuss on which day the negotiations for salary proposals should kick start.
The talks are for the proposal of salary increment by BOFEPUSO and other parties concerned.
The government, whose economy growth is slow, is under massive pressure to marginalise the high public wage bill whilst the workers unions, on the other hand, are demanding salary increment for their welfare.