Botswana Federation of Public Parastatal and Private Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) have expressed concern over the decay of labour relations between government and public sector unions.
The federation argues that sound industrial relations are only achievable through constructive and genuine social dialogue with the spirit of objectively addressing the plight of workers. According to BOFEPUSU this needs to be based on respect for labour laws and policies, construction of effective social dialogue institutions and good faith in such engagements.
"The public sector Unions engaged in bargaining with Government on salary negotiations, and concluded with Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for salary increment of 6 percent for scales C and D, and 10 percent for A and B for financial years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021.
“The increment for the financial year 2019/2020 has already effected, and thus exhausting the first part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The second part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement effected on the 1st April 2020 as directed by the Government Directive of 24th March 2020, and this salary increment has been budgeted for as per the budget tabled in Parliament in February 2020 by the Minister of Finance Development and Planning," BOFEPUSU Deputy Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa said in a statement.
Motshegwa said the Government has shockingly adopted a unilateral decision tantamount to a decree, to cut and defer salary increment of public servants for six months tentatively, meaning that it could be more than six months. This unfortunate action by Government, he said is contemptuous of the spirit of good faith in negotiations and bargaining, for this unilateralism dents and toxicates industrial relations, something that is gravely terrible for the socio-economic landscape of the country.
The Federation urges the leadership of the country to be thoughtful enough and espouse sound industrial relations, by respecting and complying with particulars of Collective Bargaining Agreement with Public Sector Unions. Government must be sensitive to the reality that, should she unrelentingly persist with her mission, such will further exacerbate the already virulent industrial relations in the public service," he said this week.
This comes after government revealed last week that increment for salaries would be deferred owing to the COVID19 pandemic.