The Director of Directorate of Public Service Management Carter Morupisi on Friday confirmed that he called representatives of the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU) to a meeting aimed at adjusting salaries for their members outside the Public Service Bargaining Council by four percent. He said BOFEPUSU refused to honour his invitation.
“We felt that unionised members were going to miss out following the decision to adjust salary increase of non-unionised members but the Union representatives refused to honour the meeting,” said Morupisi. He accused the union representatives of “always making excuses which are unnecessary.” BOFEPUSU Secretary General Tobokani Rari said after releasing a directive announcing salary adjustment for certain cadres of public servants which include among others Botswana Defence Force, Botswana Police and Permenat Secretaries, Morupisi “had the guts to call us and say we would like you to come to a meeting so that we can see how we can award four percent.”
Rari said Morupisi was confused as to which public servants were unionised and which ones were not. “We refused because the meeting is outside the Bargaining Council. The Government of Botswana does not honour the Public Service Bargaining Council. Awarding non-unionised civil servants salary increase outside the Bargaining Council is going to happen for many years to come,” he observed. Rari said they had all advocated for the pyramid style of adjusting salaries but government has since rejected their proposal. “Their excuse is that such kind of style has the potential to distort government pay structure,” he said.
Rari conceded that even if the negotiations for 2014/15 salary increase were to continue “the outcome is that we will never get anything more than four percent because the government has already pre-fixed the increment by awarding four percent to non-unionised members.” Rari said the government was against the process of fair negotiations on salary increase for public servants. “As we speak we are pondering various options, one is that we are seeking legal opinion on the government’ decision to increase salaries for non-unionised members,” he said. The other option, Rari said, involved mass demonstrations to be held in major centres across the country to express displeasure at the government’s decision to awards salary increase to a certain category of public servants. “Regarding the legal route that we intend to take, whether we lose or win, we want to ensure that in the future we have a clear road and precedent,” he said.
BOFEPUSU acting Publicity Secretary added that they intend to hold mass demonstrations fearlessly. “We are going to begin a new chapter in this country and we plead with our members to remain calm and give us solidarity. While the case is before the court we will continue with mass demonstrations,” he said. Kenosi added that they also intend to use the upcoming general elections as a tool to shape the direction that the country is taking.