Government and Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) are set for yet another showdown today (Friday) as they meet before court over the crediting of three and four percent salary hike for public servants.
This comes after Justice Tshepo Motswagole reviewed and set aside the decision by government to increase salaries by three (3) percent of public servants last year outside the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). Motswagole stated that decisions of salaries for any public servant who falls under Public Service Act should be determined by the PSBC as a body established by law.
The decision to reverse the 3 percent increase has also affected the 4 percent increase that government announced last month, which was to take effect this month. Government has since indicated that it could only be able to comply with the judgement next month (May).
The contention is that both increases have already been included in the April payments for the affected public servants.
The government also argues in court papers seen by this publication that it would be difficult to reverse the decision because of the system that is being used for punching in the salaries. BOFEPUSU Acting Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa said all the arguments advanced by government are false. When addressing the media on Wednesday this week Motshegwa said the court judgement must be obeyed.
“According to government payroll deductions are made on the 20th of each month so how could they have already punched in the salaries for April. All that they are saying is false because even the systems they are talking about are handled by local companies.
I would not discuss further this matter because it is coming before the court this Friday,” he stated.Motshegwa explained that they have already written to PSBC secretariat indicating that following the court judgement they would like the salary negotiations to start on the 10th of April 2017.
The negotiations would be for 2016/17 Financial year. He said as the union party they have proposed 10.5 percent increase while government’s counter offer is 3 percent. He said they expect to have negotiations concluded within reasonable time so that negotiations for 2017/18 Financial year could start. He said the proposal is not unreasonable because, “we believe the public service has been productive for years and they need to be recognised.
Looking at our economy and its performance they need to be rewarded. There has also been inflationary burden that affects the purchasing power of public servants. This is why we have the working poor.”