Sunday, November 29, 2020

ILO accuses Botswana Government of militarizing prisons

In its latest Report of the Committee of Experts, the International Labour Organisation has castigated Botswana government for a decision to lump department of Prisons and Rehabilitation with other security services like the army and police services.

The Committee says this is despite similar observations by past ILO reports.

Botswana Government finds itself guilty on account of the fact that prison services fall within the scope of organizations and services eligible for unionization, in line with stipulated ILO conventions.

The report laments the fact that the Botswana prison service is still excluded from the scope of the Public Service Act and the Trade Disputes Act.

The ILO Committee of Experts further noted in its query, Government’s response that the Botswana prison service has been determined by national laws and regulations to be providing a security service.

In this respect, the Committee maintains that under Article 1 of affected convention, only the police, the armed forces, high-level employees whose functions are normally considered as policy-making or managerial and employees whose duties are of a highly confidential nature may be excluded from the scope of the Convention.

Accordingly, the Committee requests the Government to amend section 2 of the Trade Union and Employers’ Organizations (TUEO) (Amendments) Act, 2003, section 2 of the Trade Disputes Act, and section 35 of the Prisons Act so as to guarantee for the prison service the rights enshrined in the Convention.

To qualify its position, the ILO Committee noted that the current legislation does not provide adequate protection to public employees’ organizations from acts of interference by the authorities in their establishment, functioning or administration.

“Thus, the Committee requests the Government to ensure that … legislation contains precise provisions providing adequate protection to public employees’ organizations from acts of interference by the public authorities in their establishment, functioning or administration,” reads the ILO report.

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Sunday Standard November 29 – 5 December

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of November 29 - 5 December, 2020.