Mmegi Online :: Gov't disappoints 'ally' BOPEU
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Last Updated
Tuesday 25 September 2018, 13:59 pm.
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Gov't disappoints 'ally' BOPEU

Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) is not happy that the government went ahead to announce salary adjustments without their consultations after they wrote a letter to them to first negotiate.
By Tsaone Basimanebotlhe Fri 06 Apr 2018, 14:58 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Gov't disappoints 'ally' BOPEU








On Wednesday, BOPEU received a savingram from  the government dated March 28, 2018 in which it addressed all permanent secretaries, Attorney General, Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commander, director general of national strategy office, amongst others, that “Addressees are hereby informed of the three percent inflationary adjustment across the board."

The savingram said the increase will apply to the public service including members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Botswana Police Service, Prisons Service, Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), members of the public service commission and to pensioners under the non-contributory old pension scheme. “All the amounts are annualised unless otherwise stated.

The directive will take effect from April 1, 2018,” director of public service management, Ruth Maphorisa said. This was despite attempts by BOPEU  in writing to the government requesting to increase public service salaries by at least 6.6 percent, which they believe is half of the inflation rate since 2008.

 “It is true we have received a savigram from government on salary adjustment. We believe the government acted in bad faith. This is peanuts to workers. Prices for rental, food, school fees, amongst others are high. xCivil servants need more. As BOPEU, we will try to have side meetings with government to discuss this issue. When we approached government, Maphorisa said they were not in a position to discuss the letter,” BOPEU general secretary Topias Marenga revealed.

 BOPEU position paper on 2018-2019 salaries, allowances and conditions of service negotiations says it is common cause that the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) is currently dysfunctional and that currently, it (PSBC) does not have a trade union party, hence it is incompetent to discharge its duties and obligations.

“We are also aware of the ongoing processes, which are underway to amend the Public Service Act, with a draft bill gazetted. Having regard to the above, BOPEU found it necessary to nevertheless submit this proposal to government, noting its (BOPEU) duty to engage with the employer and address matters of concern to its

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members who are government employees. It is our view that the collapse of the bargaining council does not mean that a union that has a recognition agreement with the employer cannot bargain with the employer,” the position paper says.

The position paper adds that the three and four percent increases, which were awarded to public servants in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 financial years respectively, were inadequate to cater for the real issues and needs of the employees, hence a need to pay attention to their paper.

It says in any organisation, an annual investigative review of employees’ salaries and terms and conditions of service is ideal, and this is normally necessitated by constantly changing global, regional and domestic economic trends. It continues, “The ever-fluctuating inflation rates for instance, always present an urgent call to ensure that the real wages of workers are cushioned against the erosion of purchasing power. We note with concern in light of the foregoing, the stagnation of public service salaries in Botswana for quite some time, most importantly following the hard-hitting effects of the 2009-2010 economic recession”.

BOPEU proposed an inflationary salary adjustment premised firstly on the average of the maximum inflation rate recorded in South Africa as a country that Botswana's economy is anchored on.  It says the laundry allowance that currently stands at P150 is not enough to adequately meet the cost for three laundry items while an officer is away on official trip. The position paper reveals that the laundry allowance was set long ago in 2003 at the current rate and is in need of review because prices have changed. It needs to be aligned with the current hotel and tourism industry laundry charges, which they proposed it to P300. They also proposed that government should provide uniform for those cadres-nurses, immigration  and wildlife officers-which are by their nature supposed to be full time on uniform .

“We propose that government should consider introducing uniform allowance for such cadres in order to address the perennial shortage of uniform,” it says.

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