Leader of Opposition, Duma Boko has challenged workers to use their power to make politicians accountable.
Speaking at the Botswana Land Board, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAWHU) congress, Boko, who is also president of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), said unions, as the supreme component of civil society, should seek to involve actively in what ails the society. He said that the unions should demand their right to participate actively in the democratic process.
He said that trade unions have fundamental functions that include addressing the welfare of members (service function), bargaining, regulating and democratising the workspace and governmental function.
He said that the workers should be the ones dictating to government what is right for them to force dialogue with government.
“When you play your function in government seriously, all political players would account to you and tell you what they want to do with you, and only those with your interests and demands would be entitled to your support,” he said.
He said that the strike action is not the only weapon the unions have. He said that if workers actively play their governmental function seriously, no one who wants to ascend to any high political position knows they could not do
He said that those who offend the unions must appreciate that their days are numbered. He said that unlike Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the UDC has shown its intention to work with the unions.
“Those who want to ascend to attain any political position must form affinity with the union.s”
Boko criticised President Ian Khama’s State of The Nation Address saying it showed no humility. He said that when reading the speech, Khama seemed detached from reality.
Meanwhile, the Director of Directorate of Public Service Management, Ruth Maphorisa said that partisan politics has blurred and distracted unions from their responsibilities.
Maphorisa said that the public service is faced with challenges such as workers refusing transfers to remote areas, issues of scarce skills, overtime allowances and cases of zero net pays for workers. She said that while workers are aware of the minimum take home, they continue to have deductions beyond the minimum limit.
“To enforce the obligation, we will look into the system to make sure that no deductions are made beyond the minimum take home limit. This could be a breeding ground for corruption,” Maphorisa said.