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BOFEPUSU, BFTU kiss, makeup

The rift between Botswana Federation of Trade Union (BFTU) and Botswana Federation of Public Parastatal and Private Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) could end after the two released a joint statement this week.

The federations indicated an agreement to work together to represent workers at the coming International Labour Conference.

The International Labour Conference will hold its 107th labour conference from May 27 to June 9, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. The two federations have been tussling over the status to represent Botswana workers at the conference over the years, and were involved in near-fist fights over a place on the high table during the same Conference in Geneva, Switzerland last year.

BFTU was the only recognised national labour centre for some time before the formation of BOFEPUSU, but government also recently accorded BOFEPUSU the same status.  The rivalry playing out between the two federations had taken its toll on participation in the tripartite arrangement.  As per the tripartite method, the delegation to the ILC should comprise two government delegates, one worker delegate and one employer. But there was always confusion as to who should fill the space of the worker delegation.

This week the federations announced that they have engaged and considered to work together in the forth-coming conference.

“Having engaged and considered what is

in the best interest of the workers of Botswana, we have agreed to work together to represent the Botswana workers…”

“The two federations have amicably agreed that the leader of the Botswana labour delegation to the International Labour Conference would alternate between them, with BOFEPUSU leading the 2018 delegation to the Conference,” read the statement.

The federations have further agreed that the leader of the labour delegation shall share the speaking rights during the deliberations at the Committee of Application of Standards (CAS) with the alternate delegate who shall be from the federation not leading the delegation.

The two federations have assured the workers that they committed to forging a united front with a sole view of advancing and protecting the interests of workers against any transgressions of international labour standards.

“The workers of Botswana and the general public would recall that central to Botswana’s transgressions as was discussed at the 2017 International Labour Conference, is the amended Trade Disputes Act that has widely extended the essential service cadres resulting in an infringement of Convention 87 of the ILO.”


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