The Six Cooperating Trade Unions (6CTU) have accused Vice President Slumber Tsogwane of misleading the nation.
The unions stated that Tsogwane uttered untruths by saying the unions were delaying negotiations on conditions of service for civil servants.
Tsogwane, at a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) press conference on Tuesday blamed the delay in the commencement of the negotiations on Conditions of Service and the PEMANDU Report on the unions.
”We find it very important to respond to the utterances of the Vice President, not only because of the gravity of the said utterances, but also because it comes from the highest office in the Republic, the Office of the President.
“It is common knowledge and in the public domain that following the setting aside of the joint consultation of workers by the unions and the employer, DPSM, that was scheduled to commence on May 23 to June 6, 2019, the 6CTU proposed to DPSM that the parties should exchange the negotiation position papers on May 30, 2019, and that the negotiation process should commence on June 3, 2019,” Tobokani Rari wrote.
Rari said on May 21, 2019, DPSM, wrote to unions communicating that they were unable to meet the timelines of May 30 and June 3, 2019 as the timelines for exchanging the negotiation position papers, and the commencement of the negotiations respectively, and rather proposed June 20 and 25, 2019 as dates for exchanging position papers and commencement of the negotiations respectively. He said the employer reasoned that the postponement was owing to giving them more time to conclude their internal consultation process.
“On June 3, 2019, the unions wrote to the employer DPSM, acceding to the dates that were proposed, in consideration of the reasons that were advanced, and in the spirit of good faith bargaining.
On June 20, 2019, the day that was proposed by DPSM that parties should exchange negotiation position papers and acceded to by the unions, DPSM surprisingly wrote to the unions indicating that they are not able to meet the set timelines as their internal consultative processes have not been completed. This was in spite of the fact that these timelines were set by DPSM themselves. What was even disturbing was that, with this development, DPSM did not even commit to a new date,” Rari bemoaned.
Rari continued to state that on July 3, 2019 following a letter that was written by the 6CTU, DPSM responded by stating that they will revert to the unions on July 10.
“Even with this commitment on the side of the DPSM, they have not complied with the timeline once again. Over and above the foregoing, we find it quite unfortunate that the Vice President decided to intrude into the purview of the negotiation process. By announcing that there is not going to be any increment.
This in our view is preemptive of the negotiation process and borders on bad faith bargaining and bypassing of the established bargaining structure.”
He states that it is their candid view that the Vice President is well aware that the DPSM has on several occasions as outlined above failed to meet the agreed timelines on the submission of position papers and the commencement of the negotiation process. He said they therefore regard Tsogwane’s utterances as an act of deliberate distortion of the truth, and that he was purposely becoming economic with the truth with a view to mislead the nation.
“This in all fairness, is very much unfortunate and deeply regrettable, especially as it comes from the Presidency Office, the highest office in the land. Our take is that this deliberate distortion of the truth does not only bring distrust in the highest office in the land, but it as well brings it into disrepute,” he said.
Rari said in view of the development the 6CTU would address mass meetings for workers in Gaborone and Francistown to update them on the developments and seek mandate on the way forward on the matter.