Sunday, September 27, 2020

BOPEU seeks recognition from government

Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) Secretary General Mbakiso Magola last week lambasted government for reneging on an earlier agreement that they made with them.

Speaking at the Public Service Union’s annual general meeting in Francistown, Magola said that the government has been dilly-dallying and giving them the run around when they demanded that they deliver on a number of promises and agreements that they made before.

“In the last three years, the government made amendments to some laws in order to reduce the discrepancies in the public service, and a consensus with the union was reached. A Public Service Act was drafted in parliament and was supposed to have been enacted on 1st of April but some parts of the act have since not been implemented.

Even the implementation of the act was not done accordingly,” charged Magola
He indicated that with regard to the probation of the public employees act, the probation agreed in section 23 was that an employee should serve probation of 6 months. There are still a large number of employees who have served probation of 8 to 13 months. Magola accused government of not being responsive and applying delaying tactics in matters that are apparently urgent.

“Government is not taking the public service seriously, if parliament passes the laws that affect the public employees why are the laws inactive,” he said.

The Secretary General condemned the government for finding strategic ways of dismissing employees, especially by making employees retire at 45 years. He attacked the government for not fully cooperating with the Union on matters regarding the public employees.
“Government does not involve the union in making some regulations in the public service act,” said Magola.

He pointed out that they have demanded the government to inform them about the effective date of the pension act, but the replication they got was that the government was still looking into making some regulations but yet that had already been done with the union.
“Section 54 of the act states that there shall be a bargaining course between the government and the employees, but if this act is still not active, it clearly shows there is no bargaining,” he added.

Magola stated that the government is oppressing the public employees, giving example of the government using recession as a scapegoat not to pay the employees. He illustrated that the Minister and the permanent secretary have never come to negotiate with them with regard to the salaries of the public employees, which he labeled the government to be negotiating in bad faith.

Touching on the Early Exit Policy, Magola showed displeasure with the way the government is defying the Union and not sticking to the agreements with the union. He took issue with the fact that, as the Union, they loved the country and they wanted to serve the nation, but yet the government had declared the policy open to everyone regardless of age and expertise.
Magola highlighted that they needed to safeguard the employment of an employee not just the dismissal of employees to protect the latter from suffering.

“When an office is dissolved, the employee should be redeployed in the other department so that there can be proper retirement procedures,” he said.

He gave the example of instances where an employee can lose employment when there is privatization of an organization or department but suggested that, in that situation, there should be retraining of such an employee and if not he or she should be redeployed to other departments.

Addressing the participants on the recent Dress Code Directive, Magola highlighted that as BOPEU, they were consulted on the issue and agreed with government though it brought some mixed feelings on some of the members because they perceived it as a violation of rights. He asserted that some public employees violated the dress code ethics because dress code had a huge impact on the image of the organization and department.

He despised some public employees for imitating other dress codes that were not of relevance to the work environment.

Dress Code should present a good image of the organization, department and country at large; therefore proper dress code is of utmost importance in a workplace, he said.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.