Sunday, October 25, 2020

Unions to mobilise against Ministers, MPs

A number of Trade Unions and labour activists will launch a crusade to mobilise civil servants against Ministers, Members of Parliament and Councilors over the backdated three percent salary increase ahead of the 2014 elections.

Commenting on reports that Cabinet has taken a decision to backdate councilors, parliamentarians and ministers’ salary increase to April 2012, Deputy Secretary General of the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU), Ketlhalefilwe Motshegwa, said the recent development justifies their position as unions that workers should play a meaningful role in politics.

Motshegwa, who is also the Secretary General of Botswana Land Board and Local Authorities Union (BLLAHWU) and also speaking on behalf of the labour movement in Botswana, said preparations are underway to come up with strategies on how they intend to participate in the 2014 elections.

“Reports that Ministers, MPs and Councilors had their salaries backdated to April and that they are silent on the issue shows that our political representatives are only concerned about their own welfare. As unions we have resolved to mobilise our members against the current political representatives who will benefit from a cabinet decision to backdate their salaries. If indeed they have a moral ground, they would have rejected such a decision,” he said.

Motshegwa accused government of disrespecting the bargaining council structure and the agreements signed between the state and labour movement.

The unionist said Ministers, MPs and councilors were benefitting from the 2012/2013 bargaining council negotiations at the disadvantage of workers whose unions had bargained for salary adjustment.

“Initially, we had negotiated for a three percent salary adjustment which was to be enforced on a pyramid style. We had proposed that the salaries be backdated to April 2012 but the government negotiators objected to our proposal saying the Government had not budgeted for April 2012. Now we wonder as to where the three percent salary increase for Ministers and MPs backdated to April 2012 is coming from” said Motshegwa.

Motshegwa accused MPs of double standard saying they were conflicted because they were talking about recession and on the hand they don’t reject the decision to backdate their salaries to April 2012.

“Since MPs contribute to the national budget, the recent development goes on to show that the MPs only budgeted for themselves and leave out their electorates,” he said.

According to Motshegwa, the decision to backdate the salaries of Ministers, MPs and Councilors to April 2012 was government’s strategy to discredit the labour movements who were negotiating for salary adjustment at the bargaining council.

“This year and next year, we will not confine ourselves to bargaining council but we will also be holding demonstrations and come up with other means to show the workers who their real enemy is.

We will also show them that funds are there but they are used for corruption practices,” he said.

He said they have learnt a lesson that politics should not only be left to politicians saying they are conflicted in discharging their mandate.

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