The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mokgweetsi Masisi, says that while no agreement has been reached on reinstating sacked essential service employees those who wish to get back to work can re-apply.
Masisi said government is concerned about adhering to the rule of law. He said that on numerous occasions the essential service workers were warned and urged to return to work.
He said this as government turned down a counter offer from the Unions, which sought the reinstatement of all fired employees as a condition for accepting government’s 3 percent offer, saying this does not bar those sacked from applying for re-employment.
“We have put in place an administrative procedure for re-employing anybody back into the public service,” he told the Sunday Standard in an interview.
Masisi said that from the onset, government was reluctant to fire essential service employees but the level of defiance for a court order was unbearable. Government has been accused of seeking to take advantage of the ongoing public sector strike as an opportunity to downsize Public Service in line with a suggestion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“We will down size because we need to…the need is not pronounced by what is happening now, the need has been on the cards for over 10 years now,” he stated.
He said he could not imagine what pushed the workers to risk their jobs by deliberately disobeying the court order.
“Perhaps we took too long to educate our people on the economic down turn and it’s not surprising that people were willing to take such unnecessary risks,” said Masisi.
He said that government was shocked to learn that the Union wants the ‘no work no pay’ policy rescinded, adding that prior to the commencement of the strike the Unions and the workers were informed that those who do not turn up for work will not be paid.
“It’s neither here nor there; we have to accept the reality that we have not agreed,” said Masisi.
He noted that, going forward, the inherent thing is that concessions from both the Union and government have to be made if the impasse is to be resolved.
Masisi said that, as it stands, neither the Union nor government were gaining from the continuing standoff.
“People are getting tired of this standoff; nobody is winning and it should not be seen as a contest,” he said.
By Friday, the Unions met church leaders, former president Sir Ketumile Masire and representatives of captains of BOCCIM and top government officials in an attempt to resolve the impasse around reinstatement of dismissed employees.