Saturday, January 16, 2021

Workers’ union going to court against gov’t over rival union

The Secretary General of National Amalgamated Government and Parastatal Manual Workers Union (NAGPMWU), Johnson Motshwarakgole, alleges that they have unearthed credible evidence that government has been conniving with the Botswana Manual Workers Union (BMWU) and allegedly “lying” about the total number of BMWU workers in order to give the BMWU recognition they do not deserve.

With the evidence in their possession now, Motshwarakgole vowed that their next stop will be the Lobatse High Court, where they will ask the Court to order the government to stop recognising the BMWU as they have failed to reach the threshold needed for them to be a recognised Union.

“We are going to instruct our lawyers to run to the Court with the evidence; we have to expose ‘these lies very soon’”, he told The Sunday Standard in his office, in front of files, which allegedly contained all the particulars of their members who he alleges number up to 60,202, as compared to files of BMWU, which allegedly contain only 2073, not the 9,000 they had been claiming was the number of their members.

Motshwarakgole, who declined to say where they got their evidence from, said that the figures prove beyond doubt that government “had been deceitful” when dealing with them and that it was very disappointing that a government would do such a thing.

”We are very disappointed about this. We did not expect the government to stoop so low as to make up figures in order to grant undeserved recognition to a Union of their choice,” he stressed.
More disappointing, he said, is the fact that some current Ministers and former ones had also been at the forefront of legitimising this Union and promising them that they had the support of the government.

”We wonder if they will still say that when we come back from Court,” he said.
The BMWU last year won a Court case in which they wanted to be recognised by the government as a credible Union, an application which was opposed by the NAGPMU.

NAGPMU feels that the BMWU was formed by those who feel that the NAGPMU was too radical and closely linked to opposition parties, charging that it was formed with the assistance of the government to destabilise the NAGPMU.

Comment by BMWU Secretary General, Simon Kgaoganang, was not available as he was reported to be out of the country in South Africa, along with other officials of the Union.

For her part, the Public Relations Officer in the Directorate of Public Service Management, Akanyang Mmoi, said that there is abundant proof before them that shows that the BMWU had reached the number of employees needed for it to be regarded as a Union, as was done.

She refused to comment on the threats of a law suit by Motshwarakgole.
Last year, just before October’s general elections, the NAGPMWU launched a campaign in which they targeted some ruling party Members of Parliament and urged their members not to vote for them because they alleged they were enemies of democracy.

This was seen by the ruling party as a sign that the Union was partisan but the Union said they have the right to de-campaigne those they see as being against unions.

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