On duty violence worries BFTU

A nurse was raped here earlier this year FILE PIC
A nurse was raped here earlier this year FILE PIC

Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU), Secretary General Thusang Butale says his organisation is concerned about violence against workers while on duty.

The union leader raised the sentiments following the death of a policeman after an attack while on duty; a teacher and recent incidents where two nurses and a patient where assaulted and robbed at Broadhurst 3 Clinic in Gaborone.

“These are but a few harrowing workplace violent incidents that have been reported involving public servants. There have been a lot more reports similar if not worse reported in the private sector. Workers have been bullied, assaulted and harassed at their workplaces,” he stated.

Butale further emphasised that BFTU was against all forms of violence particularly violence in the world of work. He condemned perpetrators of such acts of violence against workers and within the community. Ironically, the Broadhurst 3 clinic incident took place during the ongoing 108th International Labour Conference in Geneva. The standards setting committee is discussing proposed convention and recommendation on violence and harassment in the world of work, said Butale.

Previously, BFTU lobbied government to support the convention in light of the increasing reports on workplace violence as well as gender-based violence. Butale stated that workplace violence is a serious threat to the efficiency and success of any organisation. The health sector takes more than a quarter of the global workplace violence statistics, he pointed out.

“Within this sector, it is reported that one in two health service providers are victims of workplace violence while 25 % of workplace violence are unreported. These are some of the statistics we shared during the recent BONU congress graced by Vice President Slumber Tsogwane, held under the theme ‘workplace violence: a challenge to nurses safety and health service delivery’.  

It is evident that a lot of important proposals that were shared with the Vice President and Minister of Health on the day have not been addressed,” he said. Butale noted that from the main types of workplace violence the majority of workplace killings fall into the category of criminal intent. This is where the perpetrator has no legitimate relationship to the business or its employees and commits a crime in conjunction with the violence.

Butale argued that MoH&W’s decision to suspend night duty was not a solution to the problem of workplace violence.  The move puts the lives of patients at risk since they will have to travel to other clinics in G-west and Extension 2 at night.

He further pointed out that cameras were effective in capturing what happens but do not gainfully deter criminals. He urged the ministry must do more to ensure the protection and safety of health workers just as much it is required from all employers in Botswana.

“BFTU believes that crime management initiatives such as visible policing, quick response to reports, intelligence gathering investigations, prosecution need to be improved to raise the levels of reduction rate. And to ensure public safety and restore public confidence in the police,” he noted.

In another development, a press statement from MoH&W says the Ministry has engaged Huawei technologies to install CCTT cameras in 24 hour facilities to enhance security.

“This is over and above the existing outsourced private security.  Furthermore, the Botswana Police and other security organs will mount regular patrols around 24 hour facilities with effect from today until permanent solutions are found,” acting permanent Secretary, Moses Keetile says in a statement.

He further implored the public to remain vigilant and report perpetrators of criminal activities to the police. Keetile said the devilish acts not only endanger the lives of staff, but lead to interruption of critical services to the population. He called the on the public to cooperate with health care workers and stakeholders in that endeavour.

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