Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Batshu reprimands Morupisi for “dishonouring salary talks rules”

The Minister of Labour of Home Affairs Edwin Batshu this week warned the Directorate of Public Service (DPSM) Director, Cater Morupisi and his officers that they are not above the law after the DPSM allegedly snubbed meeting with mediator Tembo Lebang over 2013 salary talks. Batshu’s warning followed a complaint he received Thursday from Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) that Morupisi did not turn up mediation. The mediation was scheduled for Thursday at the Commissioner of Labour office but only union representatives showed up. The two parties last week reached a deadlock over the 2013 public service salary talks. Government was only prepared to discuss the 2014 salary negotiation and is willing to offer a four percent wage increase. Batshu confirmed on Friday that the union lodged the complaint during a meeting held in his office on Thursday. “They told me that they were from the hearing but the other party did not turn up. I was concerned because the DPSM should have communicated to the Commissioner of Labour and copied the same to the union party that they won’t be unable to attend,” he said. Batshu added that “no one is above the law in this country. The DPSM must respect the law and do as it says. I have extended my concerns to the DPSM and told him to respect and obey the law.” The Minister reiterated that Morupisi should have communicated well in time that he won’t be able to attend the meeting “to avoid wasting the other party’s time.” However, Morupisi parried away accusations leveled against him and his office that he snubbed the scheduled meeting. “There was no mediation on that day. We were informed by the Deputy Commissioner of Labour that the mediator was not available. It was not our fault because there was no point in going there,” he said. Morupisi said the office of the Commissioner of Labour should have that to the union party. “The Deputy Commissioner of Labour was supposed to tell them about such changes not us. We were told that the mediation had been postponed to next week,” he said. Morupisi also said the minister was yet to brief him on his meeting with the union. “I have been away attending kgotla meeting with the President. I haven’t spoken to the Minister of Labour. Maybe he will call me,” said Morupisi. In a statement, BOFEPUSU Deputy Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa said “This is serious sad day for mediation and broader labour relations in the Country when the Government disrespects laws and procedures that she is supposed to enforce. “ He added that “In short the Director of DPSM has since refused to appear for salary negotiations and we interpret this as disregard of the Commissioner of Labour more so that such office falls under the employ of DPSM. What is troubling is the attitude by the employer to be choosy regarding whether to appear or not appear at mediation when laws of the Country are made for everyone.” The negotiations have been dogged by controversy as the union party accuses the employer party of negotiating in bad faith.

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