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Response to Mmegi article titled 'Gov't disappoints 'ally' BOPEU'

BOPEU is not amused by Mmegi headline
BOPEU is alarmed and disturbed by the recent article which appeared on Mmegi Newspaper dated Friday 06th April 2018. The article was titled 'Gov't disappoints 'ally' BOPEU'.

The article makes inaccurate and misleading assertions which if left unattended may cause confusion to our members and the public at large. The article falsely claims that BOPEU was not consulted prior to government announcing the inflationary adjustment of three percent which it awarded to public servants. What is even more concerning to BOPEU is the glaring abuse of editorial discretion by the editor of the paper. The editor chose to be malicious by using an inflammatory headline for the story which distorted the article even further. The headline plainly suggests that BOPEU is an ally of government! The headline is casting aspersion on the Union and its value system. Further, the headline gives an impression that BOPEU is in bed with the employer and not its toiling members who are in the public service. 

BOPEU wishes to register its displeasure at the abuse of editorial discretion portrayed by the newspaper. BOPEU will always defend and promote media freedoms but it will not shy from criticizing the media for publishing inaccurate and unverified information!  

We wish to inform our esteemed members and the public that prior to the announcement of the three percent inflationary adjustment by DPSM, BOPEU and all other trade unions were duly consulted by DPSM. At least three (3) consultative meetings were held between trade unions and DPSM prior to the announcement of

the three percent  inflationary adjustment for public servants.

We further wish to inform our members that prior to the salary negotiations and consultations,   BOPEU produced a negotiation paper which proposed a 6.6% salary adjustment. Other trade unions, notably our dear comrades at BOFEPUSU, TAWU and BONU endorsed BOPEU’s proposal and such was submitted as the proposal from trade unions. After lengthy discussions and negotiations, DPSM, on behalf of government, proposed a 3% inflationary adjustment. BOPEU, acting jointly with other trade unions, countered such an offer with a four percent salary adjustment which was not acceded to by DPSM. Although BOPEU viewed the three percent as inadequate given the rising cost of living and the deplorable living conditions of public servants, we could not reject government’s offer. This was done to cushion our members from inflation. We believe that this was a principled and member-centric decision! Therefore, the suggestion that BOPEU was not consulted is erroneous and disingenuous. Lastly, our members and the public must treat with contempt, the suggestion that BOPEU is an ally of government. The innuendo carried by the headline is unfortunate and regrettable to say the least! BOPEU remains a progressive vanguard of the working class which will never be an ally of government, especially in an era where workers’ rights are trampled upon! 

*Topias Marenga is BOPEU general secretary

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