History is set to be made today (Wednesday) as all the seven public service trade unions sit together under the same roof to actualize the long awaited Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC).
The meeting has been scheduled to start at 0930 hours at the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM).
Allan Keitseng, President of the tertiary, Trainers and Allied Workers Union (TAWU), confirmed receiving an invitation from DPSM.
“The fact that for a long time there has been a lot of uncertainty regarding the admissibility of our union and the Botswana Government Workers Union (BOGOWU) we find this to be a ground breaking development.”
All the unions have been invited to the meeting.
Copy of a letter addressed to the seven public service unions reads in part: “The purpose of the meeting is to consider the way forward towards the establishment of the public service bargaining council, including the conclusion of an agreement on a constitution for the council.”
Secretary General of BOGOWU, Kaboda Phillip, said their invitation was significant in that it proved that no single trade union has the monopoly to determine the fate of the whole labour movement on the simple basis of large numbers.
“I believe the council offers an opportunity for union members to clearly identify their real representatives, in terms of the specific issues that pertain to their specialty, category or profession,” said Phillip.
A ruling of the High Court in Lobatse recently ordered Government to allow interim relief for the unions as the unionization process, especially the establishment of the bargaining council was on the verge of being disrupted.
That followed a tumultuous legal reaction by the “Big five”, after receiving correspondence from DPSM which amounted to threat to derecognize them unless they proved they had the numerical evidence equivalent to the required 1/3 threshold for recognition by the employer.
In that context, Government had quoted a ruling made by the Court of Appeal in a case involving Botswana Railways and the Botswana Railway Crew Union (BRCU).