The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has applied for a High Court order to restrain President Ian Khama and the Director of the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) Carter Morupisi from making pronouncements on public service salary negotiations.
The Union also wants Khama and Morupisi’s decisions to be declared illegal. Khama and Morupisi are cited as the First and Second Respondents respectively. According to court papers, the relief that BOFEPUSU seeks is for an order restraining Khama and Morupisi from making unilateral statements concerning government’s bargaining position pending an action for final relief declaring the First and Second Respondents conduct unlawful.
The union also seeks an order Khama and/Morupisi (or any person acting under their instruction) from making further distribution of the Directive No. 1 of 2014 (the directive issued by Morupisi announcing salary increment for a category of public servants officers among them security agents and permanent secretaries).
BOFEPSUS says that it is a requirement of the law that all the parties to the council should bargain in good faith. “The applicant unions aver that First and Second Respondent have acted in disregard of their duty to bargain in good faith and in violation of rules of conduct governing negotiations in so far as,” he said. BOFEPUSU says President Khama has resorted to making it known what the Government’s final position is in respect of the 2014/15 negotiations, before the bargaining parties could commence in earnest.
“In particular: the first respondent has indicated in public that the Government will offer a maximum of only 4% salary increment and no more,” says BOFEPUSU. The union says President Khama has gone further to state that any attempt by the applicant trade unions will serve only to delay the inevitable and that any delay at reaching agreement (basically accepting the 4% offer) will be at the detriment of members of the applicant unions since the Government will not make any retrospective payment the salary increment. BOFEPUS says the utterances by Khama were made at inter alia at a kgotla meeting at the village of Kachikau on the 26 March this year.
The union says media reports of the same statements were subsequently aired on government radio station (RB1) and national television station (BTV) news. “The second respondent has issued out a public communication on ‘Salary Adjustment to Certain Public Officers’ in terms whereof the second respondent amongst others communicates the Government’s proposal regarding the conditions of service for public servants which has been tabled for and is yet to be negotiated by the PSBC,” said BOFEPUSU. The case is scheduled to be heard before Justice Raneire Shakes Busang.