Sunday, March 7, 2021

ILO takes Botswana to task over “golf club culture”

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is putting pressure on Botswana to ditch traditional business prejudices which disadvantaged marginalized groups like Basarwa and Bakgalagadi.

Report on observations and comments made by the committee of experts on applications of conventions and recommendations from the International Labour Office (ILO) for 2015 demanded answers from Botswana on the country’s failure to address hardships and unequal opportunities faced by minority tribes.

Botswana to reply to numerous issues the country is faced with including failure to address hardships faced by minority tribes.

According to minutes of the meeting a copy of which has been passed to the Sunday Standard, the ILO committee notes that while acknowledging the initiatives undertaken by the government to address the conditions of the disadvantaged indigenous people such as Basarwa and the Bakgalagadi, there is indication that marginalised indigenous peoples continue to confront serious issues arising out of the historical loss of vast amounts of lands and natural resources.

The Report was discussed at a meeting of 20th August 2015 at the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs. During the meeting ILO condemned the Botswana government report for ignoring the labour watch dog’s previous comments on the situation of the indigenous peoples in Botswana.

“Therefore the committee requests the government to provide information on the measures taken to ensure equality of opportunity and treatment of minority indigenous groups in employment and occupation, including their right to engage without discrimination in their traditional occupations and livelihoods and their access to education. Please provide specific information on the implementation of the remote area development programme with respect to education, training and employment opportunities of indigenous people and the results thereof, ” read the minutes.

The committee recalled its previous comments regarding section 15(4) (e) of the constitution which allows differential treatment by law where there is “reasonably justifiable in democratic Society” and asked the government to indicate how this provision has been and is being applied in practice.

“The committee request the government to provide information on the number and nature of cases of discrimination dealt with by competent authorities, and their outcomes,” the minutes state.

ILO also asked the government to provide comments on the observations of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) received on 1 September 2014 concerning cases of Anti- union discrimination, refusal of union recognition and restrictions to collective bargaining in practice.

“In its previous comments the committee recalled that the convention applies to Botswana Prisons Services. Noting the government’s indication in its report that there have been no developments regarding this issue, the committee once again hopes that the government will take steps in the near future to amend the Public Service Act, the Trade Union and Employers’ Organisations Act and the Trade Disputes Act to ensure that prison Service enjoys the rights enshrined in the convention, and argues the government to provide information on any developments in this regard.”

The committee pointed out that current legislation does not ensure adequate protection to public employees’ organisations against acts of interference by public authorities in their establishment, functioning or administration.

“The committee notes the government’s indication in its report that the review of the Public Service Act has still not been completed, but that it will incorporate a provision similar to section 56 of the Trade Unions and Employers’ organisation Act that makes it unlawful for employers to make trade union membership or involvement in trade union activities a condition of employment or to prohibit employees from joining a trade union or participating in its activities,” read the minutes.

ILO called on government to ensure that the revision of the Public Service Act results in the Act including a provision this regard and that the government may, if it so wishes avail itself of ILO technical assistance in this regard.

“The committee urges government to provide information on any developments so as to ensure that legislation adequately protects public employees’ organisations against acts of interference by public authorities,” state the minutes.

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