Wednesday, May 18, 2022

BOSETU accuses state of employing ‘forced labour’

The Botswana Secondary School Teachers Union (BOSETU) says teachers are not on a go slow as reportedly said by President Ian Khama.

“Teachers work on a scheme of schedule. Teachers are doing meaningful work.┬á This is an examination period and teachers are doing just that. Teachers must not fall into the government’s trap of being paid overtime while they have lost their monthly salaries after the employer employed the ‘no work no pay’ principle,” Publicity Secretary for BOSETU, Mogomotsi Motshegwa, told the Telegraph.

“We are shocked that the leadership of this country can say teachers are on a go slow. The government wants teachers to forfeit their monthly salaries to clear a backlog of work for overtime that is tantamount to forced labour,” Motshegwa told the Telegraph.

BOSETU says the decision by the government to declare them essential is a desperate one to deny teachers the opportunity to exercise their right to strike. The union promises to defend its members by all means necessary claiming the government is employing an unfriendly labour practice by asking teachers to work overtime while they were denied salaries for the same period of work not done.

The union argues that the issue of working hours for teachers has not been resolved. The union says while government has been refusing to pay teachers overtime allowance it beats logic why government would now want to turn around and offer the same.

The union says while it is shocked by the unilateral decision by the employer to render them essential services workers it saw this coming.

“The decision is a hasty one. The Public Service Act should have addressed the issue [Essential service]. We believe due processes of the law have not been followed.┬á The intention by the government to declare us essential should have been gazette for 30 days. The government did not consult us. The decision is a unilateral one aimed at denying teachers the right to strike,” said Motshegwa.

BOSETU says by declaring its members essential workers, the government is trying to avert further disruptions to teaching and learning ahead of a planned special congress slated for June 25 at which the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSO) will decide whether or not to continue the suspended strike action.

BOSETU warns government will have to deal with the repercussions of declaring teachers in terms of remuneration.

BOSETU also said it condemned intimidation of teachers by some school heads.

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