This week, government and trade unions representing public servants commenced salary negotiations for 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years at Cumberland Hotel in Lobatse.
The meeting was not just meant for salaries of civil servants, but also to look at their general conditions of service. This is a welcome move, taking into consideration that currently, the Public Service Bargaining Council has been paralysed. The conditions of service of public servants have for a very long time been neglected and salary increases have negligible.
However, due to the fact that such increases hardly meet the needs of the beneficiaries, there have always been agitations for more increases to reflect the economic realities of the time. Workers, through their labour representatives have always clamoured for improved conditions of service and can go to any length to buttress their demands. Recent study have indicated that in Botswana, public servants are paid on average 40% lower than those in the private sector. This has created a serious imbalance and need for salary reviews by a bigger margin for public servants remunerations.
In any organisation; be it in the private or public sector, money is a very sensitive issue more especially to employees. In the private sector, large enterprises’ ability to attract and retain valuable employees in part depends largely on how much they offer them.
Poor wages are a constant source of frustration if employees and employers are engaged in continuous strife with resulting decrease in productivity. And this is what has been happening in Botswana.
We hear that government has proposed a paltry 3.5 percent salary increase
There have been poor relations, and such relationships have affected productivity severely as workers assume that the government does not appreciate their efforts by refusing to pay them better rates like their private counterparts, even though they all buy from the same bread. Trade dispute is not good; therefore every effort must be made always to avoid it. It must however be understood that when workers are not properly treated as ought to, they will not only be demoralised but will also exhibit some negative behaviours in the workplace. They start to steal public funds to take care of their families and also ensure that during retirement, they have enough to fall back on. There is no doubt that an effective and efficient public service makes every other sector of the economy vibrant by facilitating the desired development that will impact positively on the quality of the life of the citizenry, so the President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s administration should ensure that civil servants are kept happy.
“Much good work is lost for the lack of a little more.”
– Edward H. Harriman