- Says govt wants to divide unions to stall resuscitation of the PSBC
- Tsogwane says govt has been with unions outside the PSBC
The government is deliberately stalling resuscitation of the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) in order to divide trade unions, the president of the Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), Johannes Tshukudu, has said.
This comes in the wake of Vice President Slumber Tsogwane remarks in Parliament that suggested that the government has been meeting unspecified trade unions about resuscitation of the PSBC.
Speaking in an interview, Tshukudu said there are indications that the government is trying play a divide-and-rule tactic by meeting minority unions out of the council in order to influence their decisions.
He added that inspite of several promises by President Mokgweetsi Masisi to resuscitate the council, nothing is being done to that end.
“The council is a powerful bargaining platform recognised by international bodies,” Tshukudu said. “The government is therefore playing divide-and-rule by influencing decisions of minority unions.
“Some of the union leaders are even used to betraying the struggle. Such leaders are only looking at their own interests at the expense of the people they represent.”
Five cooperating unions
He asserted that if the government was committed to resuscitating the PSBC as the Vice President said in Parliament, the decision of the five cooperating unions would have been adopted.
The five include Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Botswana Land Boards Local Authorities & Health Workers Union (BLLAWHU), Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU), Botswana Nurses Union and the Manual Workers Union, which have agreed on the constitution of the PSBC.
“Despite this, the government insisted that the council could only start when the unions have set the threshold and formula of admission in unison and is playing witchcraft by negotiating with other unions secretly,” said Tshukudu.
Responding to a question about why the government has not met all the timelines set to resuscitate PSBC in Parliament recently, Tsogwane seemed to blame trade unions for delaying.
“It is worth noting that there are structures instrumental in facilitating all recognised trade unions to enjoy the organisational rights as stipulated in Section 57 of the Public Service Act,” Tsogwane said.
“I do not know if the unions are not bothered by this delay. Inspite of this, the government continues to meet the unions out of the council to get their views.”