Former Executive Director of the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC), Tembo Lebang is expected to break the impasse between public service unions and the government regarding salary increments.The Botswana Guardian can reveal that the Commissioner of Labour Rose Sennanyana on Wednesday appointed Lebang to mediate on the matter. Unions and the Directorate on Public Service Management (DPSM) are currently deadlocked over salary increment negotiations.
The unions had proposed an 8 percent across-the-board increment plus the temporary recession relief allowance (TRRA) as proposed by the government. The initial demand from the unions was a pyramid increment ranging from 3 percent at top scales to 30 percent at the bottom scales. The employer started at 2 percent before settling for a 3 percent increment.
Following the deadlock, the unions approached the Commissioner of Labour for mediation. But DPSM on the other hand went on to increase salaries of the non-unionised employees by 3 percent. Secretary for Occupational Health and Safety at the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions, Topius Marenga confirmed to the Botswana Guardian that Lebang has been appointed to mediate on the matter.
He said the meeting between the parties would be held on October 30. Lebang, who in 1990 and 1991 was Commissioner of Labour, is not new to labour issues. In the early 1990s he was part of the leadership which spearheaded the Review of Employment and Labour Relations Law, in particular the Trade Disputes Act and the Employment Act. Meanwhile, the trade unions were expected to hold rallies across the country this week Thursday to update their members on the issue. Union leaders have not ruled out a strike if government continues to be impassive.