Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) moved swiftly this week to restrain the tax agency’s management from coercing their members on an indefinite strike over salary increase to return to work. BOPEU president Andrew Motsamai told journalists on Wednesday that they have instructed Ramalepa Attorneys to write to BURS regarding a form that is being circulated among their members to return to work.
The letter penned by BURS Director of Human Resources Ms Pelaleo and passed to Botswana Guardian advises those wishing to voluntarily return to work to sign a form with this undertaking: “I confirm that I wish to voluntarily approach management with a view to return to work.” It then catalogues the conditions under which BURS may accept back the member; that, “I shall not be seen in any manner to be participating in a go-slow during working hours; I shall not interfere with the security of BURS facilities either electronically or others; the BURS General Conditions of Service shall continue to apply to me and I advise that I understand the above conditions and accept to be bound by them in full”, reads the form dated the 31st of July 2015.
The BOPEU attorneys wrote back on August 5th 2015 complaining that the contents of the letter are unlawful as BOPEU has on past occasions implored BURS management not to deal directly with the union members. “Our client is worried that despite such pleas, BURS continues to act in clear disregard of both the law and the Collective Labour Agreement signed by the parties,” they wrote. They continued that BURS Management has no right to influence union members to act against decisions of the union and threatened to approach the court ‘on urgency’ should BURS management forge ahead with the “letter herein spoken of.” Botswana Guardian was informed by BOPEU officials that communication was received from BURS at press time, however the Communications Manager Refilwe Moonwa could not be reached as she was said to be in a meeting.
BOPEU president has accused Finance and Development Planning minister Kenneth Matambo of misleading Parliament last week when he said everything was under control.Motsamai said it is unfortunate to see government continuing its denials without proper information. He said this is a clear indication of undermining Batswana and public servants.