The Secretary General of the Botswana Federation Public Sector Union, Kethalefile Motshegwa, says that the Union will this week start addressing workers around the country to brief them on the current situation regarding negotiations in the Bargaining Council over salaries increases amongst others.
Speaking in an interview with The Telegraph Motshegwa said that they feel that it is very important that they tell their members what is happening in the Bargaining Council as they feel government is not interested in seeing the negotiations progress.
He said they would ask their members on the way forward.
Asked if this might lead to yet another public sector strike, Motshegwa said, “That will be up to the workers to decide”.
On who they blame for the crises they are encountering in the Bargaining Council, Motshwegwa said, “We in the Union honestly think that we are negotiating with people whose hands are tied behind their backs who cannot make their decisions on their own. They have to always await decisions from elsewhere whilst they have been mandated to negotiate,” he said.
This he said they believe is because the current government has no respect for Trade Unions , for good governance and rule of law as was shown by the blatant disregard of the Court order issued by Lobatse High Court judge Abdneico Tafa ordering them to return to the Bargaining Council .
“They returned way after the order had said they should,” he lamented.
Asked to comment on these accusations, the Director of Directorate of Public Service Management, Cartr Morupisi, denied that they are under mining the unions in any way.
“We are constantly in touch with them whenever there is a need to. How then can we be said to be under mining them?” he asked.
Morupisi also said that he does not know where the notion that they are deliberately delaying the negotiations so that the government can in the end announce if there would be a salary increase comes.
“If that is their conception, I cannot change it,” he added.
On the allegation that the negotiations had taken too long as the government is constantly causing unnecessary postponements, Morupisi denied that they are to blame for all postponements.
“Salary negotiations is a serious issue that cannot be treated lightly so yes it might be taking long on grounds that it needs proper handling,” he added. He also denied that government negotiators’ hands are tied behind their back.