Tuesday, April 20, 2021

ILO to grill Botswana Government over “repressive” labour laws

Botswana government will appear before the International Labour Organisation (ILO) June 2017 to defend last year’s amendment of the Trade dispute Act.

The Act was amended and passed into a new law on November 1, 2016. The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) which was unhappy with the amendment took up the issue with ILO and requested the international labour lobby group to prepare an informal opinion on the matter to guide the federation in lobbying both domestically and abroad including at the 2017 ILO conference.

In its latest preliminary report, ILO lists Botswana among countries expected to appear before the International Labour Organisation to answer why it classified the teaching cadre as an essential service.

Section 46 of the new law stipulates cadres of employees that have been designated essential services which included among others; air traffic control services, Vaccine a laboratory services, Bank of Botswana, Diamond sorting, cutting and selling services, electricity services, fire services, health services, water services veterinary services, teaching services, operational and maintenance services of railways, government broadcasting services, immigration and customs services and services necessary for the operations of the forgoing services.

The new law sparked debates in Botswana as workers federation BOFEPUSU and Botswana Federation of Trade Union (BFTU) felt the new law was oppressive.

The two federations released a joint statement last year condemning the law. “This Joint Statement by the Botswana Federation of Trade Unions and Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions is our joint resolve as representatives of workers in Botswana regarding the Trade Disputes Act. In a nutshell we declare that we are opposed to the un-procedural enactment of the Trade Dispute Act, and substantively opposed to some sections of the Act, mainly Sections 46 and 47 on essential services,” reads the statement.

This is not for the first time that BOFEPUSU has reported Botswana to ILO for what they term violation of workers and trade union rights.

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