The National Amalgamated Local and Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union (NALCPWU) is currently hit by a massive exodus of members who are resigning en masse to join the rival Botswana Government Workers Union (BOGOWU). There are also indications that eligible members who would otherwise join Manual Workers Union are also choosing to subscribe to BOGOWU.
In an affidavit filed with the High Court, Manual Workers Union President Onthusitse Tsalaile confirmed that the court’s delay to finalize the matter in which Manual Workers union is seeking the de-recognition of BOGOWU is costing the union a lot of money through subscriptions from potential members.
“Every month that goes by with BOGOWU enjoying recognition, the Manual Workers Union is deprived of approximately 5000 members. This translates to revenue of about P 100 000 per month,” he said.
He also accused government of entering into favourable agreements with BOGOWU to the detriment of the Manual Workers Union.
Tsalaile’s retort was spurred by requests by the Attorney General and BOGOWU to be allowed permission to appeal a ruling made by High Court Judge Singh Walia two months ago where he held that clause 1(c) of the agreement entered into by Manual Workers Union and Government on 13 November 1975 was neither illegal nor invalid.
BOGOWU’s attorneys could not appear in court, which resulted in the judge deciding to deny them the opportunity to argue their case as they had apparently failed to file their heads of argument in time.
However, the respondents took issue with the Court’s ruling on the basis that it had a bearing on the final outcome of the whole case, upon which Walia then conceded that parties submit their heads of argument.
The bone of contention, according to Government’s Attorney, Abraham Keetshabe, was that the High Court erred in making a ruling on the legality of the 1975 Agreement in its entirety, when that was not an issue for determination in the case.
“In any event, the TUEOA No. 24 of 1969, which was the statute in place at the time this agreement was concluded, contains no provisions permitting such an agreement,” said Keetshabe.
But Tsalaile is of the opinion that there was no need for the respondents to appeal against an aspect of the case instead of waiting for the case to be disposed in its entirety and appealing later.
Asked to comment on Tsalaile’s concerns, Kaboda Phillip, Secretary General of BOGOWU said, “Indeed we are currently inundated with applications from former members of the Manual Workers Union. However, people are being refused the liberty to move to the new union as their subscriptions are being directed to the Manual Workers Union.”