Saturday, September 25, 2021

Court interdicts govt from stopping assistance to trade unions

The Lobatse High Court on Monday granted an interim interdict stopping the government from implementing its surprise move to stop assistance to trade unions affiliated to the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU).

The ruling was delivered pending the determination of the review application to be instituted by the BOFEPUSU upon the expiry of the statutory notice served to the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) on 25th August 2010.

The DPSM wrote to BOFEPUSU on 24th August 2011 announcing that the government was seeking to withdraw its assistance to BOFEPUSU.

The list of services included facilitating the deduction of union subscriptions from public service employees’ salaries until further notice.

The government had also decided to stop facilitating with the deduction of loan repayment to unions and micro lenders within a period of three months to allow the affected parties a source of alternative measures of implementing loan repayment schemes.

The government, through the DPSM, made a decision to stop the secondment of public service employees to unions with immediate effect. The government also decided to stop providing transport to unions for their conferences, congresses and governing councils since it has proven unsustainable.

The letter also stated that the government had decided that all assistance offered to unions were to be renegotiated and formally presented to government for consideration and, by such, unions and workers organizations through established channels.

Judge Lot Moroka ordered the government to continue allowing assistance to unions on all the services mentioned in the above named letter.

“Upon weighing all the foregoing considerations, I come to the conclusion that the probabilities are strongly in favour of the granting of the interim interdict. The application succeeds,” he said.

He further ordered BOFEPUSU to deliver a review application within seven days of the statutory notice served to the government.

Moroka had earlier told the court that the stopping of direct deductions of dues from the members’ salary and the immediate withdrawal of seconded office bearers would severely emasculate and curtail their organizational abilities as worker representative organizations.

“The applicants say that they have reasonable apprehension of harm if the decisions are allowed to stand,” Moroka said.

BOFEPUSU was represented by Mboki Chilisa and Tshiamo Rantao while the State was represented by Nchunga Nchunga.

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