Sunday, November 27, 2022

Botswana teaming with sweatshops ÔÇô government inspection reveals

Inspections by the Department of Labour have turned up information suggesting that Botswana is a huge sweatshop where workers are paid below minimum wage and are not insured against workplace accidents.

This emerged this week when the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Peter Siele, informed Parliament that government will review the Trade Dispute Act to address the delay of cases at the Industrial court.

“The main contraventions identified during the inspections were failure by employers to observe minimum wage regulation, insurance of workers for purposes of workers compensation, and maintenance of employment records,” he said

Siele told Parliament that the Commissioner of Labour’s office has been inundated with trade disputes, adding that although some of these cases are settled through mediation, a large number of disputes were being referred to the Industrial Court.

Siele said that, as a result, there is a backlog of cases at the Industrial Court.

“To address this, a decision has been made to review the Trade Dispute Act with a view to expediting resolution of disputes…I expect to table a bill in the December 2011 sitting of parliament,” Siele told parliament.

He said that his ministry continues to monitor compliance with the country’s labour laws as well as educating employers and workers on their rights and obligations.

Siele also told parliament that his ministry would be extending the internship programme to two years to allow those that have not secured permanent jobs to gain work skills as well as open opportunities for them to get jobs.

He said that more graduates above the anticipated threshold of 3000 continue to be registered, adding that for that the programme would require over P70 million.

The national internship programme takes at least 21 percent of the ministry’s budget.

Siele proposed a development budget of P85 million for his ministry, which he says provides critical services for the socio-economic development of our country such as immigration and citizenship,labour administration, civil and national registration ,promotion of gender equality and gender and safety at the workplace.

Siele told parliament that the passport and border control system (PBCS), which provides for electronic processing and issuance of passports, as well as the Immigration and Citizenship system (ICE), which provides for issuance of citizenship cirtificates, residence permits and visas were experiencing some problems relating to connectivity due to lack of government data network.

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