Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has indicated that it will not approach the Public Service Commission (PSC) for reinstatement of scores of public sector workers dismissed for taking part in an illegal strike in 2011.
Earlier this year, Appeals Court judge Ian Kirby confirmed the dismissals after holding that the strike by essential service employees was illegal and constituted a criminal offence.
The judge also advised those employees who did not take part in the demonstrations and did not get notice of the ultimatum that they could appeal their dismissal to the Public Service Commission.
Two months after the judgment, BOFEPUSU says that it has no intention of approaching the Public Service Commission on behalf of its members who were unfairly dismissed.
Instead, the Union says it will intensify efforts to assist those that have been fired with a subsistence allowance as well as help them get jobs.
In a brief interview with The Telegraph, BOFEPUSU publicity secretary Goretetse Kekgonegile said that they have no hope in the Public Service Commission.
“We cannot even consider that….how can we appeal a miscarriage of justice. Appealing to the PSC will be giving the appeals court decision on the dismissal case some legitimacy,” he said.
Kekgonegile said that BOFEPUSU has realised that litigation is not working and so the Union was looking to mobilize its members to either engage in a massive Industrial action or use their voting power to change government.
According to BOFEPUSU, only workers have the power to change their plight.
He said that while Botswana Land Board and Local Authorities Workers Union is resolute that it wants a new government, BOFEPUSU is campaigning for the ouster of Parliamentary candidates who are anti workers.
This is notwithstanding the fact that the Director at the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) Carter Morupisi has warned Union leaders against making political statements and aligning themselves with partisan political views.
Carter is relying on the new Public Service Act as well as general orders, which basically bar civil servants from active political participation.
“Carter does not understand the Act…he is mixing his interpretation of the Public Service Act and the Trade Unions and Employer’s Organisations Act…we will continue to implement our mandate as per workers resolutions,” he stated.
There is some concern that eventually government may fire all Union leaders who are actively taking part in politics while under the Union’s banner.
Kekgonegile says that if Union leaders are fired, it would be nothing unusual. He adds that such would be consequences of taking part in workers struggle.