Civil servants consider industrial action
Following the evoking of clause 16.2 of the negotiation rules which requires parties to go for a cooling off period when there is progress on a disputed issue, reports say some civil servants, angered by the 4% proposed by government, are calling for mass demonstrations which could culminate in limited industrial action.
The action it is said will take one day during the week for a month and later two days, until the government tables something better.
Salary talks resume today (Tuesday) following a 10 day ‘cooling off period’ as the Unions and government failed to agree on a number of issues. Government proposed a 4% increment for the 2014/15 financial year and proposed that the 2013/14 negotiations be abandoned. The Public Service Unions, under the auspices of Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) however want the 2013/14 and 2014/15 talks to be combined so the workers get backdated increment.
The Gazette is informed that some union members have proposed that the 2013/14 negotiations be abandoned as per government request only if government addresses the conditions of service and incentives.
At the last meeting of the Bargaining Council, the government told the unions that the leadership was still working on the issues of conditions of service but did not commit themselves as to when the report will be ready.
On the other hand, the Director of Public Service Management Carter Morupisi on the same date of the Bargaining Council meeting, told civil servants in Letlhakeng that the government has been working on the conditions of service and has already assessed them, adding that the remaining part was to come up with a package and present it to the Bargaining Council.
He said government cannot address other issues such as accommodation and transport for civil servants because of resource constraints. “You should also understand that the national cake does not belong to public servants only,” Morupisi told public servants.
BOFEPUSO secretary General Tobokani Rari declined to comment saying that it could compromise the negotiations. “We’ve been critical of Morupisi’s comments on issues before the Bargaining Council so it would be remiss of me to do that.”
BOFEPUSU labour Secretary Johnson Motshwarakgole confirmed that there was unrest among workers especially about government’s offer adding that it should be a source of embarrassment for President Seretse Khama Ian Khama that in his seven years in office he has increased worker’s salaries by only 6%.