The Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) has said it would be erroneous for the Botswana Police Service commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe to abolish the housing and upkeep allowance for officers.
This follows a savingram written by Makgophe dated June 18, 2015 and addressed to the rest of the service about the implementation of the housing and upkeep allowance.
The circular reads:
“Reference is made to Public Service Management Directive No. 7 of 2015, dated 8th April, 2015, which amongst others, introduced housing and upkeep allowance. The necessary clarifications have been sought from the employing authority regarding entitlement and payment of the housing and upkeep allowance. Subsequently, addressees are hereby informed that police officers across all ranks do not qualify for this allowance by virtue of already enjoying free housing. Ensure this message reaches the rest of the service.”
In response, BOFEPUSU secretary general Tobokani Rari wondered why the commissioner discriminates against the police officers.
“The resolution at the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) never said that the housing and upkeep allowance would be enjoyed by those who do not stay in institutional houses. It should be applied as it is and there should not be differential treatment,” he said.
Rari further said that even though the police and other security forces are not amongst the bargaining unit of the trade unions, it would not be right for the government not to extend the product of the bargaining process to them.
“This is because the conduct of the government has always been that whatever that has been agreed at the PSBC would apply to everybody in the public service, why discrepancy now? Government should act consistently as they have always acted,” he said.
Rari called for the unionisation of the security forces, as is the case in other countries, so that they can bargain for themselves if the government persisted with the differential treatment.