President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi met public sector unions Wednesday at the Office of the President to hear their complaints regarding delays to commence salary negotiations for financial year 2019/2020.
At the end of the closed door meeting, Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) President Masego Mogwera told the Press that they had come to seek redress regarding the delay in salary negotiations that were supposed to have resumed in December last year.
“We were not discussing the details of how much salaries would be increased by, but our concern is the delay from the employer.
“The President has however, assured us that negotiations will start before January 28, 2019, so that by April 1, public sector employees receive a salary increment,” Mogwera said. According to Mogwera, the delay might have been because the employer seems not to be ready, something which is surprising because “they are the ones who wrote us a letter on November 21, 2018 that negotiations should begin so that they should atleast conclude by December 24, 2018, but that did not happen.” “On our part, we got ready and prepared rules of engagement, and everything that needed to be done but were just awaiting the final meeting with the employer.”
Olebile Molamu of the National Amalgamated Central, Local and Parastatal Manual Workers’ Union believes that the meeting with the President was productive. “From the look of things, the President seems genuine and committed to the process, stating that there is no reason they cannot trust that he will ensure that the process of negotiation takes place and ultimately the public service receive a salary hike come April 1,” he said.
Acting Director of Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), Tefo Bogosi said they had set themselves a target that they believed they would meet, but unfortunately that did not happen. He believes that meeting with the President was welcome, because “he was also interested in what has caused the delays.” Bogosi could not explain why there was a delay, save to say this year’s salary negotiations are a bit different because they cover over a period of two years, something they have never dealt with before.