The Botswana Federation of Public Private Parastatals Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) and Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) rivalry is far from over after the former called for the latter’s audit.
This is despite the fact that both acknowledge they need each other to advance the aspirations of the workers.
During their trip to Switzerland for the International Labour Conference (ILC), where they motivated a case before Committee of Applied Standards (CAS) in which Botswana was charged with contravening the ILO convention, there were reports of clashes between the two federations.
Both parties claimed they were behind the report and that they were the rightful federation to motivate the Botswana case.
Briefing the media yesterday, BOFEPUSU president, Johannes Tshukudu said they had no problems working with BFTU, but were concerned that it could not be meeting its obligations.
“There are only two people in the BFTU, the president Bohithetswe Lentswe, who is not even eligible to hold the post and secretary general Gadzani Mhotsha. None of you can tell me of a meeting, a congress or anything like that by the federation.
“We want to meet with the minister and call on him to audit the federation and establish whether it satisfies all legal parameters that govern trade unions,” he said.
Tshukudu said they had already written to the ministry calling
BOFEPUSU secretary general, Tobokani Rari said they were disappointed BFTU was appointed leaders at the labour committee while the position was to be granted to them.
He said they then took the position of advisor and had costs for BOFEPUSU deputy secretary general, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa paid by the government, as he was to be the advisor to Mhotsha.
“When we got there, they had appointed a Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) representative and said it was because we failed to honour their invitation to plan for the trip. But that was because they only want to invite us when it suited them,” he said.
Rari added that they had after being granted recognition as a labour centre, separate from BFTU, written to their counterparts asking for a meeting so they could discuss representation of workers in social dialogue structures.
BFTU then responded by stating that they had written to the ministry seeking advice and would not meet with BOFEPUSU before then.
Rari said BFTU then never got back to them and they would reject invitations from BFTU because it did not take them seriously.