Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Gov’t to increase salaries in September ahead of elections

Confidential documents shown to The Telegraph on Monday shows that Government is working on plans to adjust public service salaries in what is widely seen as an election buying ploy ahead of General Elections slated for October this year.

In April this year the Government did the same by hiking civil servants salaries by 4 percent, sidestepping negotiations that were ongoing at the Bargaining Council at the time.

Impending salary adjustments come after President Ian Khama, when addressing a meeting in Nata promised public servants another salary hike if the economy improved during the next few months.

According to the confidential documents, Government representatives at the Bargaining Council have made it clear government will review the country’s economic status before September and adjust salaries accordingly. The same documents also show that the government is in a process of reviewing the national budget.

From the same documents, representatives from Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU) at the Bargaining Council have expressed unease.

They have instead countered government set of proposals by suggesting that government should table fresh negotiation items for 2014/15 before making a unilateral salary hike adjustments.

The union representatives have also expressed concern at what they see as government’s continued violation and undermining of the rules of the Bargaining Council.

Contacted for comment on Monday, BOFEPUSU Deputy Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa labelled President Khama a hypocrite who is bent on destroying institutions of democracy in the country.

“In his speech President Khama never fails to describe himself as a democrat. But what kind of a democrat is determined to wipe out all institutions in the country including institutions meant for negotiation of salaries between workers and the government in good faith. A democrat must be accommodative and respect the country’s institutions,” said Motshegwa.

Motshegwa did not spare Khama’s ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) describing it as a party that continues to make false promises for workers and Batswana.

“President Khama and his party claim to have the interests of workers at heart in their manifesto but the opposite is true. President Khama and his government are determined to kill the Bargaining Council which is an institution where workers can negotiate for better salaries,” said Motshegwa.
Motshegwa added that what is happening are the practical promises that form part of the BDP manifesto.

“They don’t respect the Bargaining Council. What they wrote in the manifesto was just electioneering,” he observed.

The unionist further accused President Khama of presenting himself as a messiah for the nation by usurping the mandate of the country’s institutions such as the ombudsman and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

“He is of the belief that if these institutions deliver as per their mandate, they would steal the limelight from him and that is why he calls a meeting for civil servants in Nata village to announce plans to increase their salaries instead of waiting for the Bargaining Council to make such an announcements,” said Motshegwa.

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