The workers will be most hurt

We have been observing the latest developments in the country’s public sector unions under the umbrella of the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU).

Ever since mid-2015, BOFEPUSU and its affiliate, Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU), have been as loggerheads.

At its congress held in Palapye two weeks ago, BOPEU resolved to pull out of BOFEPUSU citing among other reasons, the federation’s political alignment with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), the bad blood between the leadership of BOPEU and BOFEPUSU as well as differences in what the two unions stand for. It is a pity that the leadership of the two organisations have failed to resolve their differences.

However, it is not those in leadership positions who will pay the price of a disjointed trade union movement, but the workers of this country. The workers need a more united movement to confront the daily challenges of poor working conditions and slavery wages in some sectors of this country’s economy.

We still have workers who knock off at 11pm and are forced to go to hiking spots to travel to their homes. There are reports of workers constantly threatened with dismissal for advocating for better working conditions, just as there are workers being denied maternity leave, or in the worst instances, being dismissed for falling pregnant.

These are some examples of abuse that can only be averted by a united trade union movement that speaks with one voice for inspection of factories and other workplaces, for workers rights and for the general improvement of working conditions.

Workers across the world are demanding better working conditions and to achieve that goal, they speak in one strong voice. It is normal for people to hold different views on whatever subjects, but those who have the best interests of the people they represent always strive to find a common ground.

We take this opportunity to appeal to the leadership, and general membership of the five main trade unions to find a solution to their differences and work together for the benefit of the workers. They should appreciate that their common goal is to fight for better working conditions of the workers of this country who are also the engine of its economy.

We hope that as we break for the festive season, the leaders of these unions will come back with cool heads and come together under one roof to iron out their differences, make concessions and compromises and ultimately agree on the future as one component.

It is possible to find a common ground if the common goal is to fight for better working conditions for workers in Botswana.

Today’s thought

“Labour Unions are the leading force for democratisation and progress.”


- Noam Chomsky

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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