During the recent commemoration of the International Labour Day in Francistown, the Vice President of the Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU), Tebogo Sebogodi, accused the government of not sharing information regarding the extent of accidents and occupational health diseases in the work place.
“It is common in our country that the information on the extent of accidents and occupational health is lacking,” said Sebogodi.
She urged authorities with such information to come forth and share the information with the union in a user-friendly manner to enable the union to make a meaningful contribution towards alleviating maladies at the workplace.
“Workers can only contribute to solutions if they also possess the same information that authorities do,” he said.
She further stated that, as BFTU, they are aware of the strides that the country has made in combating HIV/Aids amongst Batswana but, as a Union, they were disgruntled that the same government that had done well in that area was not addressing the HIV/Aids in the workplaces.
Sebogodi further pointed out that for the past three years an HIV/Aids policy document was drafted and agreed upon by workers and employers with the involvement of government but government has stalled the policy document for reasons that have never been articulated to the concerned parties.
“In 2007, we were told that Cabinet did not approve the document because they felt that it was too pro-workers at the expense of the employers,” said Sebogodi.
She informed the confenrence that the policy document was returned to the Union to be re-done and was returned to the authorities who have been sitting on it for over 12 months to date.
She also indicated that as workers in Botswana , they advocated for a law that addressed the injustices on HIV/Aids at the work place and urgently called the authorities to move as they have done with the national response to HIV/Aids and come to the rescue of workers.
“There can never be a Good Occupational Health for All Workers when they are no instruments to protect and safeguard the workers interests at the work place dealing with HIV/AIDS.
However Sebogodi commended Botswana for having ratified 15 ILO Conventions amongst them 8 core conventions.
“The BFTU applauds these achievements but would also want to point out that these are just the minimums and a lot needs to be done,” he added.
She reminded the participants that the Botswana government had not yet ratified conventions C155 Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 and C187 Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006.
Sebogodi highlighted that ratifying these conventions would ensure that there is commitment by government in promoting and maintaining of good standards with regard to occupational health and safety in the workplace.
She also reinforced that the promotion for all workers irrespective of where they work called for the realization that workers in the informal economy should be accorded the same treatment that workers in the formal community have.