Public Sector Union representatives on Friday called off a go-slow action by nurses to allow full negotiations between them and the government.
This was announced by Pelotshweu Baeng on behalf of the Unions during a press conference in the Ministry of Health, jointly addressed by the Deputy Minister of Health, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, who said that they had agreed to set up a joint working group between the Ministry and Union representatives, which is scheduled to start working on the 27 of September.
The working group, he said, will interrogate the matters which have been raised by nurses and come up with proposals with a view of presenting them to the employer.
Amongst the issues to be interrogated the parties have agreed on will be an exercise of defining nursing duties so that “non nursing” duties are further clarified.
The go slow action by nurses started on September 20th and its results were felt in many government facilities around the country as patients spent longer hours than usual waiting for assistance from nurses.
Also present at the press conference was Johnson Motshwarakgole, the Secretary General of the Manual Workers Union who praised the Ministry of Health for having responded positively to the calls by the Unions for a dialogue.
He also called on Matlhabaphiri, whom he said has a long history in trade unions in this country, to talk to his colleagues about the need for a national salary structure, which will address the problems of salaries structure in the country holistically.
“What we are doing now is not enough as we are only solving problems as they arise; we need a long term solution to this,” he said.
Motshwarakgole also called on the Deputy Minister to talk to his counterparts in the Ministry of Education and advise them on how to solve such matters.
Meanwhile, the situation as regards the go slow by teachers continues as the Ministry of Education and Teachers Unions have not met to resolve the issue.
The go slow that the teachers have engage in sees teachers working only eight hours as per the new Public Act law but asking that they be paid for extra hours they work for in order to help students in their studies or in extra curriculum work.
The Sunday Standard has also reliably learnt that Public Sector Union representatives have met with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Ruth Maphorisa, to discuss the burning issue regarding invigilation and the marking of examination papers, which the Unions representing teachers of the Botswana Teachers Union and the Botswana Secondary School Teachers Union say they will not do if there are no negotiations on setting new allowances for doing the job with the Botswana Examination Council, which is responsible for examinations in the country.
Attempts to talk to Maphorisa or authorities at the Botswana Examination Council were futile as they were both reported to be engaged in meetings.
The Botswana Examination Council has, of late, been running advertisements in local newspapers for former teachers to work as both invigilators and markers.