In what comes across as union busting, sacked Essential Service employees due to be absorbed back into the public service will be slapped with written warning letters, prohibiting them from engaging in any strike action for a year, government has revealed.
Government is not only winning the war against the trade unions but has decided to rub some salt on the wounded.
Director at the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) Festinah Bakwena disclosed to the Sunday Standard in an interview that her department is working around the clock to expedite the re-employment process.
Bakwena said that the re-employment process was not altogether non ÔÇôconditional. She said that once employed the employees would be warned not to take part in any ‘unprotected strike’ action until after the lapse of twelve months.
“There were dismissed on the basis that they disobeyed a lawful Court Order,” said Bakwena as she justified the written warning that the employees are to receive. She said that the warning also means that the employees upon resuming duty would be expected not to engage in any strike action of any form. She gave an example of a slowdown, adding that workers will be required to work efficiently and productively.
The warning has for now tapped into the Union’s bargaining power as workforce eligible to strike has been left isolated.
She said that while government has assured to re-employ many of those fired. There is no guarantee that all will return to their posts as some vacancies had already been filled.
“There is no guarantee because in other positions we have hired substantively, we are trying as much as possible to absorb everyone but there is no guarantee,” she said.
She said that the re-employment were not fresh applications as employees would be roped back to their previous salary scale and mark. She further said that government had decided to waive the normal probation period.
The employees who were dismissed on the 16th of May this year have not been given their severance benefits like leave days and other packages.
Government, however, says it has started the process of giving all the fired employees their benefits. According to Bakwena her department has written to all government ministries urging them to speed up the process for ultimately paying the severance benefits.
“Everyone fired will get their terminal benefits,” said Bakwena.
She said that government would take about three months to complete the process.
In a separate interview, Secretary General of Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), Andrew Motsamai, said that his union is not urging its members to re apply for their jobs. He said that the Union had decided to take the matter to challenge the dismissals in court. On the issue of severance benefits, Motsamai said that the Federation was not particularly concerned about the issue adding that as of now reinstatement of the fired lot was their top priority.