Salary negotiations for the 2012/2013 financial year came to a close last week with trade unions acceding to the meager offer from the Government.
However, unions have argued that they took the offer after careful consideration not because they were intimidated.
“We took the offer not because we were intimidated; instead we took a number of issues into consideration,” said the Chairman of salary negotiations, Tobokani Rari. The mediation, which was held at the District Labour Office, saw the two parties consenting to the fixed Temporary Recession Relief Allowance (TRRA) for all employees on salary scales C4 and below.
The TRRA will be P150 per month for scales C4, employers between B1 and B5 pocket P180 while salary bracket A1 to A3 get P230 monthly. While the two parties were in agreement for the 2012/2013 salary negotiations review from the onset, they differed on the model or approach of the increment.
The employer proposed a two percent increment across the board with a temporary recession relief allowance at the lower scales. On the other hand, trade unions had proposed a pyramid approach; increment with differentials for salary bands, putting on the table a three percent at top scales and 30 percent at bottom scales.
Unionists expressed dismay with the way the employer was not flexible during the whole process of salary negotiations.
“From the time salary negotiations started, the employer has been stuck on their position making the process of negotiation unworkable,” he said.
Rari said unions are disappointed with the manner government acted during the negotiation process.
“Looking at the county‘s economic performance, our demand was quite reasonable and the figures we put on the table did not differ from regional figures,” he said.
Revealing some of the reasons that made the unions arrive at their decision, Rari said one of the major issues well thought-out was the impact of the strike on ordinary Batswana.
“Coming from an eight-week industrial strike in 2011, we realized that a number of ordinary Batswana suffered a lot and we felt we might exacerbate that suffering,” he said.
In addition, Rari said during the negotiations, government had argued that initially civil service salaries adjustments were not budgeted for the 2012/2013 financial year.
“We thought it was a valid point because we had handed in our proposal after the budget was done,” he said. “Meanwhile, unions are working on our 2013/2014 proposal for salary negations, so that they hand it in on time. We have done our proposal in time and we are waiting to see what excuse they will give in the coming negotiations,” said Rari.