Just a month after public sector unions obtained a court order which interdicted and prohibited the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) from suspending its operation in the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC), government has up to now failed to pitch up in three meetings of the council therefore making it dysfunctional.
The deputy secretary general of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), Ketlhalefile Motshegwa said that government has never given any reasons for absconding in the council meetings.
“We can only suspect that they are sabotaging the council. They are in contempt of court. They do not respect the bargaining council and court orders,” he charged.
Asked on their next move, Motshegwa said the federation is still analysing available options and one of them is the court route.
“But we are also considering going to our members and inform them about the status of the bargaining council.we need to mobilise our members.”
Asked whether there is any importance of the bargaining council given the fact that it has never produced anything for the workers, Motshegwa, blamed government saying she does not have the heart of workers. He said the bargaining council cannot operationalise itself.
“We have a government that does not respect labour relations,” he said.
The Director of DPSM, Carter Morupisi told this publication that government representatives could not pitch up because they are held up in different assignments.
Asked whether they informed the unions of their position, Morupisi answered in the affirmative. He said it would be an unfair assessment to say government is sabotaging the council.
However Motshegwa denied that the unions were aware of the position of government. “He (Morupisi) is one arrogant man. He doesn’t take people’s lives seriously. He is belittling us as if we are the ones who are never busy. He is a threat to labour relations,” he charged.
The reluctance of government to participate in the council means that it will be difficult for civil servants to have a meaningful salary increase negotiated by their representatives.
A month ago, High Court judge, Abednigo Tafa ruled that government must go back to the negotiating table saying its absence renders the bargaining council dysfunctional.
He said if government was not happy with political pronouncements made by union leaders; there were other remedies she could resort to including disciplinary action.
This was after government had pulled out of the council citing unions’ involvement in partisan politics.