Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) is preparing its demands to be presented to incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi.
The Federation has expectations from Vice President Masisi as he prepares to assume the high office on April 1st 2018, which they will present to him in the form of documentation. BOFEPUSU Acting Secretary General, Mogomotsi Motshegwa said there are priorities that they would want Masisi to focus on among them rooting out corruption in the country.
However, top of the list is for the incoming president and his administration to repeal all draconic laws that have closed the democratic space for workers. He stated that another demand would be for the suspension of advertising ban on private media houses which was imposed during the current administration.
“Laws like the Trade Dispute Act which has essentialised almost everyone in the public service; the intended amendment of Public Service Act whose intention is to totally kill the bargaining power of the workers in the country. We want Masisi to lift the advertising ban. Currently newspapers are retrenching because there is no revenue generated. Advertising is the lifeline of the media especially newspapers and without advertising, there is no business and people will lose their jobs.
“This is because government is the biggest advertiser and ever since government decided to withhold advertising in the private media newspapers, they have been struggling financially,” said Motshegwa who is acting on behalf of Tobokani Rari who is currently in Italy to further his studies on labour issues until April this year.
Motshegwa told a press conference in Gaborone that as the Federation they also want Masisi to improve labour relations in the country which are currently at their lowest ebb. As the Federation representing most of the public servants, BOFEPUSU expect Masisi to restore Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) which serves as Parliament for public servants.
The PSBC has to be independent and operate without fear or favour, said the acting secretary general. He explained that each of the demands would have its own timeline given the fact that Masisi as head of state would be dealing with other matters of national importance. He said they are however aware of government’s tendency of making promises but failing to implement them.
“In this regard as the federation we would be having monitoring tools in place. It is not that we are making these demands not knowing what government of the day is capable of.
We would be watching closely to ensure that what we want is delivered. We believe that Masisi will heed these demands with the aim of taking a different approach to rectify the mess created by the one he is taking after being President Ian Khama,” he stated.