Against rampant reports of employers disregarding various labour regulations, including adhering to the minimum wage rate requirements with impunity, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu, has urged trade unions to report the violations to his ministry for remedial action.
The minister made the call when officiating at the commemoration of Workers Day in Francistown, organized by the Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU).
He observed that a living wage is one which can afford the worker or earner and their family the most basic amenities without the need for reliance on government poverty programmes.
“It is in this regard that government, in consultation with unions and the employers through the Minimum Wages Advisory Board, regularly reviews and recommends adjustment of the minimum wage rates, taking into consideration factors such as the prevailing cost of living, levels of productivity and unemployment levels,” he said.
Batshu further said that trade unions and their members have a major role in ensuring that workers earn a decent living wage.
He said that by ensuring that workers are productive at work, employers would be better positioned to provide better service and increase profitability of their enterprises. Increased profitability would in turn provide the necessary impetus for improving the workers’ wages, he said.
On a different note, Batshu expressed concern over Botswana’s ratings on work ethics and productivity, which he said is not impressive.
The minister advised Batswana to heed the fact that they live in a global village where they compete with other nations for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and tourism inflow and added that for the country to be able to achieve its 2016 vision, there is need for collective efforts and hard work.
“I call upon you to seriously consider this situation in a bid to address and arrest it before it is too late. We have to be always conscious of the fact that we live in a globalized world where we compete with other nations for foreign direct investment and tourism inflows,” he said.
He observed that for labour relations in Botswana to be cordial, there is need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders, that is, workers, employers, government as well as civil society.
The minister called for effective communication between all these parties and expressed worries that in many instances, improper communication is the cause of grievances and disputes.