Monday, August 8, 2022

BOGOWU and TAWU against nationwide strike

Two workers’ unions are distancing themselves from planned nationwide strikes being planned by BOFEPUSO, the umbrella body, should the government fail to hike salaries for civil servants.
The two unions, the Botswana Government Workers Union (BOGOWU) and Trade and Allied Workers Union (TAWU) have been noticeably hushed after the announcement was made during the 2011 budget speech while other unions were airing their frustrations and threatening to strike.

Local opposition parties supported outspoken union members of BOFEPUSO in their quest to initiate a nationwide strike to rebel against government’s decision not to award pay raise to civil servants while President Khama criticized the opposition for ‘trying to incite workers to strike’.

At a political rally in Molepolole, the president said that a strike by the civil servants would negatively impact the Botswana economy.

BOFEPUSO is made up of about 93 percent of the public service; the umbrella body has five public sector unions under its wing namely, Botswana Public Employees’ Union (BOPEU), Botswana Teachers’ Union (BTU), Botswana Land Boards and Local Authorities Union (BLLAWU), Botswana Secondary School Teachers’ Union (BOSETU) and the Manual Workers’ Union.

The Secretary General of BOGOWU, Kaboda Philip, who is also a spokesperson for both unions recently revealed that from the onset, BOFEPUSO representatives did not engage either party on the matter at hand and, as a result, the two unions have been using their ‘own established rules of engagement with regards to salary negotiation talks with government’.

According to Philip, BOGOWU and TAWU will be meeting the Directorate for Public Service Management (DPSM) next week Tuesday, where their negotiation’s rules will be put to the test.

Philip said that both BOGOWU and TAWU have an agreement with government in which information would be exchanged amid the three prior to their Tuesday meeting. The three are currently negotiating on the number of representatives from the two unions to be present at the meeting.

The consensus amongst BOGOWU and TAWU is that they intend to analyze information provided by the government by utilizing experts in the form of economists and accountants in order to bring a methodical approach to the negotiation table.

“In doing so, we can provide our members with logical, poised representation that has a greater prospect to yield better results for our membership. At present we feel positive about the direction the talks could take given government’s stated intent to continue to engage with the unions,” said Philip.


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