Botswana opposition political party leaders have expressed their parties’ support for civil servants’ intention to go on strike following the collapse of negotiations between workers’ trade unions and government for salary increments, saying this is the only avenue open for them to show their displeasure at the government’s act.
The President of the Botswana National Front, Duma Boko, says that his party is strongly behind the workers who are planning to go on strike because “it has been clear from the onset that workers would take this route because government has not responded to their demands for salary increment”.
Boko says the new Employment Act demands that there be negotiations between workers’ trade unions and the government before a conclusion can be made on the issue of salary increments.
Despite this, the government, without consulting workers’ representatives, went on to announce that there will be no salary increment.
Boko says that this clearly shows that the government has no regard for the new labour dispensation in the country and will not stop at anything to frustrate the demands of the workers in this country.
”Government stubbornness will make her face the strength of united workers of this country,” concluded Boko.
Concurring with Boko’s view was Sydney Pilane, of the Botswana Movement for Democracy, who said that the workers are currently facing very difficult economic times of rising food prices and that it was cruel that the government had not listened to their pleas for salary increment.
On such grounds, Pilane said that his party also supports their intention to strike.
Asked if he feels government will give in to the workers demand if they went on strike, Pilane said, “It is our belief that she will and, as a party, we fully support them in their endeavour”.
Themba Joina of MELS also says that his party is fully behind the workers’ intention to strike because as things are at the moment, striking is the only means they have at their disposal to force the government to concede to their demands.
By striking, Joina said the workers of this country will be expressing their displeasure at the way the government has treated them in regard to her refusal to increase their salaries when it is a well-known fact that prices of all commodities and services have gone up.
Joina further said that what he finds very strange and cruel is that the same government has admitted that the economy is improving and that, as such, it is just arrogance on the part of government to decline to increase the workers’ salaries.
”This is yet another example of our government arrogance”, he stressed.