Sunday, November 27, 2022

BNPC facilitates labour relations meeting between gov’t and unions

Several trade union organisations are meeting government as the two parties seek to find common ground on industrial relations.

John Brand, an external industrial relations expert at the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) recently facilitated a BNPC-led face-to-face between government and the Botswana Federation of Trade Unions as well as the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions. It was a joint union/management interest based negotiation with government as the public employer.

“This year was somewhat unprecedented in as far as labour relations are concerned following the public sector industrial action,” BNPC Executive Director, Baeti Molake, told the meeting.

Molake was trying to clear the path to an amicable relationship between government and the unions.
“The 2010 implementation of the Public Service Act of 2008 brought a paradigm shift in our labour relations environment extended fundamentals rights to workers,” he said.

In 2011, a three-month public sector strike nearly paralysed service delivery after the Act jolted the workers into action over their rights.

“So such rights enhanced the workers capacity to bargain effectively as a collective with their employer,” said Molake.

He urged government to continue improving on “our labour laws to allow more flexible employment and greater participation of key parties to determine their destiny”.

The unions believe that under the labour laws, government’s role should be limited to that of referee for a robust industrial relations climate to exist.

“The parties should use this opportunity and past experience to introspect and commit to a more constructive and interest based industrial relations environment,” Molake said.

He called on all social partners to be mindful of the dynamic and evolving nature of labour relations, which require that calls for co-existing and mutual respect.

In the last round of wage negotiations, government and the unions negotiated through a third party. Conclusion of this year’s wage negotiations will pave the way for further negotiations in 2013.
The BNPC believes the meeting will be successful as the parties reflect on the nature of their fragile relationship.

“The hosting of this event is a deliberate effort by the BNPC to deliver on one of the critical aspects of the Centre’s strategic plan that has indentified labour relations as a priority area,” Molake said.

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