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BOFEPUSU Concerned Remote Work Could Spell Job Losses

A savingram from the Director of Public Service Management Goitseone Mosalakatane advising government Accounting Officers to utilise interventions aimed at minimising the spread of the coronavirus (COVID- 19) has raised unions’ concerns this could lead to job losses.

Botswana Federation of Public and Private Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) welcomes the move to allow employees to Work From Home (WFH) to minimise the risk of contracting the virus. They however want to be engaged and have an agreement in place to protect their members from losing their jobs.

“We will always commend any move to help fight against COVID-19, especially when it is meant to protect workers. We are, however, disappointed that we were not engaged before the decision was taken. We will engage the employer with a view to discuss the arrangement to have an agreement in place to ensure that both the employer and employees are not disadvantaged,” BOFEPUSU president, Johannes Tshukudu said.

Tshukudu further stated that they were concerned that without an agreement in place, some employees who have been targeted could lose their jobs.

“We hope this will not lead to people being unfairly dismissed or retrenched in both public and private sector. We would need to discuss that those who

would be working from home would have resources to enable them to do so without risk being labelled non-performers,” he said.

Tshukudu said if workers cannot produce up to required standards while working from home, it could also lead to loss in revenue and that could lead to job cuts.

He further said it is important that they discuss with the employer as to how those who would not be able to work from home would be protected from contracting the virus as well as the possibility of remunerating those who cannot work from home.

In the savingram issued on Friday, Mosalakatane advises the accounting officers to implement arrangements such as WFH, rotational shift work where employees would alternate weekly; staggering/flexi-time where employees would work in two shifts daily.

“These work arrangements will be reviewed periodically and amended in response to emerging challenges as they unfold. The success of these work arrangements is dependent on close and effective monitoring by accounting officers,” she stated.




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