Federations seek to address MPs

The Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) and Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) have written to the Speaker of the National Assembly seeking to address legislators on the contentious Trade Disputes Bill.

In the July 7, 2015 letter to the Speaker, the two federation secretary generals Gadzani Mhotsha and Tobokani Rari stated that,  “The purpose of this address is to seek to engage them on the trade disputes Bill, 2015  that  would be discussed in the current seating of parliament.  There are provisions in the Bill that we believe if they are allowed to pass as they are they will be against the wishes of workers whom we represent and will go a long way in depriving them fundamental rights such as the right to strike.”

The union federations want the parliamentarians to know and understand their point of view on this Bill, as they would deliberate on it and subsequently decide on it.

“We would appreciate if we could be afforded this opportunity on the  9th July or any other convenient day before the discussion of the bill.”

Under the amended Trade Dispute Bill, which passed the first reading in Parliament on Monday, government intends to add teaching, state broadcasting, and immigration and custom services, to the essential services list.

The two federations have openly declared that they are opposing the Bill and they would lobby MPs to vote against it. The Speaker’s office and the chief clerk of the National Assembly however, claimed ignorance to the trade unions’s request.

“May be the letter has been received by the Speaker. You can check with her office,” said the chief clerk, Mabunga Donga.

The secretary to the office of the Speaker said their office had not received the letter. 

The federations also wrote to different political parties to address them on different dates about the Bill.

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