Thousands of Public Servants who were hoping to get┬á a salary increase have been dealt a great blow as the government withdrew from the salary negotiations last week Friday by suspending the Bargaining Council.
The bargaining council, whose mandate is to advise government on the remuneration of civil servants, comprises representatives of the government and those of the public service trade unions.
On Friday last week, the Director of Public Service Management, Carter Morupisi, warned in a letter addressed to the bargaining council’s acting secretary general that, “We have noticed the development of a trend in which Public Service Trade Unions; who are also acting jointly under BOFEPUSU- trade union party to the Council, continue to make political statements which have the effect of interfering with or negatively influencing the activities of the Council, in violation of Section 56 of the Public Service Act, 2008.”
According to Morupisi, these issues include the declaration by the Trade Union group to openly support political candidates, which action has the greatest potential of involving the Council in political controversy.
Morupisi says that the government as the employer party is greatly saddened by this development and demands that it be completely stopped or halted.
“In consequences of the foregoing therefore, the participation of the employer party in the activities of the Council, shall with immediate effect, remain suspended pending the resolution of this,” states Morupisi. ┬á
In a related matter, Morupisi also wrote letters to trade unions terminating the secondment that allows serving as union officials and recalled them to the public service. He warned that they should return to their duty stations “with immediate effect.” ┬á
They are Secretary General of the Botswana Land Boards and Local Authorities Workers Union BLLAWU, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, The Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) Secretary General Tobokani Rari, and The secretary general of the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Ibo Kenosi.
The Telegraph has it on good authority that the government’s grand plan is to dismiss the union leaders in question from work as soon as they report to their duty stations. By the time of going to press on Monday, the union leaders are said to have been engaged in a meeting to map the way forward.
Muzzling the union leaders by government is a second phase of a multi-pronged approach to neutralize the union movement ahead of the 2014 elections. The first phase involved de-registration of trade unions found to be in breach of the Societies Act.
The Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs has already launched a massive investigation of trade unions to establish if they are compliant.