Civil servants were last week given assurance that their jobs are now safe, as government has finally capitulated to pressure and resolved the implement the new public service act, which will put to end recent developments where public servants were fired with immediate effect and without reason.
This emerged last week at a meeting held by the Botswana Land Boards and Local Authorities Workers Union (BLLAWU), National Amalgamated Local and Central and Parastatal Workers’ Union (NALCPWU), Botswana Secondary Teachers Union (BOSETU), Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), and Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU).
The meeting confirmed an announcement by the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Lesego Motsumi to the effect that the new public service act will be implemented on May 1st. The act was first signed by President Khama in December 2008, and was expected to have been implemented by April of 2009. But that did not happen, and Motsumi then promised that it will be implemented in December 2009, and later March 2009.
When that did not happen, the irate public service unions convened a press conference at which they threatened to liaise with opposition parties to unseat the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, and also embark on a massive strike action of a magnitude and proportion never before experienced in the public service.
At last week’s meeting, BTU President Japhta Radibe said that government had pushed them against the wall by her continued refusal to accede to their demands for the act to be implemented.
“Government was refusing to implement the act even though they had already signed it. The Director of the Public Service Management even told us that there was no way the act would be implemented. But we never gave up, and now they have surrendered, “said Radibe.
Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) president Andrew Motsamai said that the new act, which he called fair labor practice, will be a step in the right direction for workers. He said that the act also accords the unions an opportunity to negotiate for salary increments with government.
“We are made to understand that the act is gazetted and will be implemented on May 1st. Recognized unions will also come together to draw up a draft policy to form the bargaining council. Right now our issue of concern is the 12% vat increase that comes with no salary increases,” said Motsamai.