Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, said Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, is misleading the nation on public service salary negotiations.
Matambo told the public in his budget speech that the Government remains fully committed to the Bargaining Council in the process of negotiating public service salaries and will continue to consult with Trade Unions.
“Government has nevertheless made an offer to the Unions. Such an offer is based on projected financial resources and it is expected that the Trade Unions will appreciate the budgetary constraints facing the Government.┬á We hope that the negotiations by the Bargaining Council will be concluded soon and an agreement reached, before the beginning of the next financial year, so that public servants are not disadvantaged,’ Matambo said.
According to Rari Government wants to create an impression that its representatives are committed to the bargaining council while the trade unions are not which he said is false.
“The way he put words in his speech, it looks more like government has given a proposal and the unions’ side is reluctant in finalising the negotiations. That is the picture that Matambo is painting to the nation and it is false,” he said.
He said the government has a tendency of always wanting to fabricate the truth adding that it is not for the first time Matambo did that.
“Last year he created the wrong impression to the nation that the bargaining council was reluctant to conclude the talks on salary negotiations while the actual truth is that government representative are the ones who are not committed to the bargaining council to resolve issues of salary negotiations,” said Rari.
He further explained that as per the constitution of the bargaining council they submitted their proposal to government for salary negotiations by October last year. Then the bargaining council immediately passed their proposal to government.
“November, December passed. They only brought in their counter proposal two weeks back. Since then we have been waiting for the bargaining council secretariat to call a meeting so that negotiations can start but that has not yet happened,” explained Rari.
He emphasised that it is wrong for minister Matambo to be pretending as if all is well at the bargaining council and blaming the trade unions commitment to the bargaining council.
“He did that previously while knowing very well that government takes a longer time to respond. I think he is not being honest to himself. I do not know the game he is trying to play. He is misleading the public,” Rari said.