The Secretary General of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), Andrew Motsamai, has warned that unions will not compensate striking workers for lost income if government implements the ‘no work no pay rule’.
Motsamai accused malicious government agents of misleading striking public servants.
“We are aware that there are people who are spreading this false rumour. But our workers are aware that sacrifice is an integral part of the strike. We went ahead with the strike even when government was threatening to dismiss us and deduct our salaries. Our members expect nothing from us because they were sacrificing for a good cause,” he said.
He added that the ‘no work no pay’ threat was a government strategy aimed at dissuading workers from engaging on the strike. However, there seems to be some disgruntlement among some public servants, as some of them were under the impression that unions will compensate them if government goes ahead and deducts their salaries.
Some workers, especially those in rural areas, say they were misled by union representatives and field marshals who explicitly promised them that unions will compensate them if government deducts their salaries.
If government goes ahead with the threat, public servants, especially industrial class cadres, stand to lose almost half of their income. Government has warned that deductions will be effected in May.
In return, unions have warned that they will not cover up for lost time as government cannot expect them to do work for which they have not been paid.
Motsamai said they will, in the near future, approach government and other stakeholders like the Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) to seek a better way of handling the issue.
“This is a very serious matter. The employer has to be aware that our members will not be expected to do any work pending from the days that they would not be paid for. Government does not have an advantage at all because this will seriously cripple government operations,” Motsamai said.
He said schools, hospitals and accounting departments will especially be crippled if public servants do not recover lost time.
“Students and the private sector will suffer the most. There are already pending payments in most accounting departments, and workers will not try to speed up payments. This will have a great impact on the private sector, which depend on government for business. To that end, other stakeholders like BOCCIM have to be mobilized to exert pressure on government,” said Motsamai.