Mmegi Online :: BOFEPUSU, BOPEU kiss and make up
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Last Updated
Friday 14 December 2018, 17:40 pm.
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BOFEPUSU, BOPEU kiss and make up

Four leading unions belonging to the Botswana Federation of Public Private Parastatals Unions (BOFEPUSU) have decided to swallow their pride and work with an archrival.
By Staff Writer Fri 30 Nov 2018, 14:09 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: BOFEPUSU, BOPEU kiss and make up








BOFEPUSU and the Botswana Public Employees Unions (BOPEU) have joined hands for salary negotiations for financial years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. 

For the past few years, the two were not seeing eye-to-eye. BOPEU is a founding member of BOFEPUSU, but pulled out of the federation in 2015 over political differences. The new bromance resulted after the director of the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), Goitseone Mosalakatane wrote to all the recognised trade unions informing them that government wished to enter into and conclude salary negotiations for the financial years 2019-2020, and 2020-2021.

The leading members of BOFEPUSU are Botswana Land Boards Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU), Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU), Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) and the National Amalgamated Local Central and Parastatal Workers Union (NALCPWU). 

BOFEPUSU secretary general, Tobokani Rari has confirmed the new development. 

“We as four BOFEPUSU members met with BOPEU leadership yesterday and we agreed that we are going to approach the negotiations as a bloc,” Rari explained.

He said they delivered the letter to the employer on Wednesday telling them about their plan.

“Our issue is that for the benefit of the workers, the unions must unite. We are happy that we agreed to approach this issue as a bloc. We have learnt from our past mistakes.”  He added that they recognise that BOPEU is no longer with BOFEPUSU, but with Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU). 

He said they are happy that in the end they are working for a common cause for the benefit of workers.  Rari said they needed Botswana Nurses Union

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(BONU) to be part of the bloc, but the latter had their preferences.

“BONU decided to have bilateral talks with the employer and we respect that.” 

But Rari was not happy with the approach of the employer.  “With the absence of the Public Sector Bargaining Council (PSBC), now the unions depend on individual recognition agreements.

These recognition agreements entitle the unions to bargain with the government.

“With a right thinking government and right thinking employer it is quite obvious that the approach of fragmented negotiations would not work, especially when you are negotiating a cross cutting issue like salaries.

If you take that approach, one union might propose a 10% salary increment and another one propose a 20% increase because they are negotiating differently. 

“In our current public service structure you cannot have different salary increments,” Rari said, adding that the approach Mosalakatane wants to take might lead to that. He explained that in the 2011 negotiations, which resulted in a monumental strike, the then director, Festinah Bakwena called on all recognised unions even though there was no bargaining council. 

He also said during the 2017 negotiations with the then director Ruth Maphorisa, which resulted in a three percent salary increment, she also called all recognised unions to the negotiation table although the PSBC had collapsed.  “The situation we are in is not different from 2011 and 2017 negotiations.”

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