Monday, October 26, 2020

BOFEPUSU under siege?

The Government appears to have prevailed over the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) as its members are terminating their membership with its affiliates.

Recently, BOFEPUSU withdrew from the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) citing government’s disrespect towards the Council. But that decision appears to have backfired as some of members of BOFEPUSU want out.

The Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAWU) which is an affiliate of BOFEPUSU is already witnessing mass exodus of its members from the union.

BLLAWU is expected to appear before Justice Rannowane of the High Court to explain why it is refusing to terminate the membership of one Keabetswe Sera and 65 others.

Sera and 65 others are employed by Lobatse Town Council.

They recently requested their employer to stop deducting money from them as membership subscriptions for BLLAWU. The employees are aggrieved by the decision of the Lobatse Town Council to continue to withhold monies from their salaries when they ordered their employer to stop.

Lobatse Town Council was further served with a statutory notice by way of a registered mail to stop deductions as they are unauthorised and offensive to the employment Act. Despite the statutory notice on the Lobatse Town Council which was also copied to BLLAWU, the deductions continue to this date.

The 66 employees say Lobatse Town Council has no say on agreements between its employees and the unions they belong to.

“Any instruction to deduct or to stop deductions from any employee’s salary is the prerogative of the employee in law. It is therefore submitted that any reliance by Lobatse Town Council on an agreement between the respective employees and their union is misguided and in law unsustainable,” said the 66 employees.

The employees say the only relationship that Lobatse Town Council and BLLAWU has is only for purposes of collecting subscription monies on its behalf as per the mandate given by the respective employees.

“The union has no authority in law to instruct Lobatse Town Council to deduct or not to deduct membership subscription fees from any employee’s salary. The power is with the employee who owns the salary,” said the 66 employees.

On the other hand BLLAWU legal team argues that the authorization by the 66 employees for Lobatse Town Council to deduct their monthly membership subscriptions is both a matter of their consent and their constitutional obligation to Lobatse Town Council in terms of Lobatse Town Council constitution to which they have agreed to abide by.

BLLAWU can neither confirm  nor deny that the 66 employees have written to Lobatse Town Council to stop the deductions as they allege, however BLLAWU denied that the 66 employees have terminated their membership with them.

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