Monday, August 15, 2022

‘Govt. shooting itself in the foot’ – Motshwarakgole

The Secretary General of the Manual Workers Union, Johnson Motshwarakgole, says that the latest rough government tactics against the unions in the country will only work to strengthen them and not to weaken them as those applying them are thinking.

“They are just shooting themselves on the foot and will not benefit in the long run,” he warned.

Speaking in an interview with the Sunday Standard on Friday, Motshwarakgole said that the current government has proved to be very hostile to the unions in that they are coming up with laws which are against the unions on almost a daily basis.

“If there is anything consistent that the current government has done since coming into power, it is coming up with laws that are against the working people and my warning is that this will not help them to remain in power as they are driving away even their supporters who are workers,” he warned.

Motshwarakgole said that the government seems to have been driven to the stance it has taken against the workers by the recent past government workers strike, which he said was a legal strike and that even after the unions had called the strike off hoping that there will be negotiations, the government is still pursuing “war” tactics against the workers.

He said that the unions’ hopes after the strike was called off was that there would be serious negotiations between the parties but that they were greatly alarmed that, instead of negotiations, there followed more regulations that seek to curtail their members’ rights further.

Motshwarakgole said this was recently made clear by the arrest of union leaders during a peaceful meeting in the Gaborone Secondary School grounds who were there just to inform their members who were dismissed from work on the latest developments in regard to their cases.

“These are people who are no longer working for the government and we cannot meet them in places where they are not employed but under the trees where we were meeting them during the strike. It is, therefore, disturbing that they were arrested,” he said.

On the issue of the 3 percent salary increment that the government has offered their members, Motshwarakgole said that they are adamant that the government is doing that on its own as they still stand by their demand that the increment should be on a pyramid form that will see the lowly paid getting more.

“The current one they are talking about is theirs alone which will only work to see the likes of Fastinah Bakwena the Director of the Directorate of Public Service Management and Eric Molale the Permanent Secretary to the President benefiting more than other public servants,” he said.

On what the future of the unions in the country is, Motshwarakgole said, “Gloom and gloom and we will not take it lying down.”

Asked what they will do he said, “We will encourage our members to each recruit 10 people and vote in great numbers in the coming elections, who they will vote for will be their choice.”

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