Has joined other unions in new deal with the government
The Botswana Land boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) has gone back on its decision to sue the government over deferment of salary increments for its members as civil servants.
This comes after the government met with representatives of six public service unions over the weekend and made a commitment to pay the deferred increment effective September. After the government announced a decision to defer salary increments of the public sector in April, BLLAHWU broke ranks with cooperating unions, saying the government was acting in bad faith by breaking a collective bargaining agreement with unions.
BLLAHWU had already issued government with a statutory notice to sue for breach of the collective bargaining agreement that should have been effected on April 1st 2020. In the statutory notice, Rockfall Lekgowe law group (for BLLAHWU) cited the Attorney General as the first respondent and the Director of Public Service Management (DPSM) as the second respondent.
BLLAHWU was among the six unions at the weekend meeting with the government where it was represented by its Deputy Secretary General, Onyebo Matshidiso Mafoko, while the government was represented by the Director of Public Service Management, Goitseone Moselekatane, and a new deal was signed.
“We have decided to rescind the matter as the major component has been addressed,” the Secretary General of BLLAHWU, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, told The Botswana Gazette. “It was the issue of salary increments together with arrears. We have to note that the lawsuit was meant to protect and advance the interests of workers because public servants are entitled to that increase as there is a collective bargaining agreement to that effect. The lawsuit helped because it piled pressure on government and it finally succumbed because they did not want to risk being embarrassed when ordered by a court to respect a collective bargaining agreement.”
But a section of the union’s membership was always against taking the legal route, saying it was unnecessary because the government had only deferred the salary increment. “We objected going to court but our leadership did not listen,” said a member who asked to remain anonymous. “There was no need to do that because the government had said it would put the agreement into effect within six months.”