BOPEU takes govt to task on labour issues

Baitshepi Sekgweng
BOPEU PRESIDENT Masego Mogwera

At least 400 Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) delegates from across the country are expected to meet in Palapye from the 4th -8th of December for the Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting.

At the top of the list on the agenda of a meeting that will be held under the theme; building the 21st century labour movement through decent work and effective workplace structures, will be rationalisation of ministries and merging of state owned enterprises and its impact on jobs, BOPEU president, Masego Mogwera has revealed.

Earlier this year, government announced the rationalisation of ministries as well as of parastatals in order to maximise public service delivery and ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

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However, the exercise comes with a huge impact on jobs with some employees expected to lose their jobs.

At the Palapye meeting BOPEU expects the Permanent Secretary to the president(PSP) Emmah Peloetletse to address the issue as head of public service since she will also be guest speaker at the gathering.

BOPEU will further seek answers from Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) Director, Gaone Macholo on issues of reforms and conditions of service including multi-titling, multi grading and failure by DPSM to adhere to court orders issued by Botswana courts.

Amongst some of the cases which BOPEU won are the legal battle between the Union and Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC),in which the latter was barred from filling positions without consulting BOPEU. The organisational structure review by BHC was declared unlawful and a legal nullity by the Industrial Court in August this year.

“Our expectation is that PSP will address concerns for workers, especially matters relating to the rationalisation of ministries. We are aware of the deteriorating labour relations with a number of state enterprises. We are faced with employers who fail to disclose critical information relating to policy issues such as restructuring .There is no meaningful consultation on restructuring and other employment policy related issues,” said Mogwera at a press briefing on Wednesday.

According to Mogwera,the situation is so dire that they were forced to litigate against BHC, Botswana University of Agriculture & Natural Resources(BUAN)and Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) which had been found to be practising poor labour relations.

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BOPEU takes govt to task on labour issues
LAMENTING: Mojela

“As if that was not enough, Botswana Unified Revenue Services(BURS) have joined the fray. We used to have a good working relationship that was enviable with them in the past. However that has since changed following change of management at BURS. The relationship is now characterised by lack of transparency since the management is not willing to disclose transition documents and the terms of reference for consultancy services,” said Mogwera.

“We continue to grapple with employers, we had thought that issues that relate to relations between employers and employees were clearly understood and that our relations are regulated by acts of Parliament. What we see these state enterprises doing is a travesty of justice and therefore unlawful,” lamented BOPEU 1st Deputy president Mothusi Mojela.

The CEC meeting in Palapye is also expected to deliberate on annual reports from the National Executive Committee, audited financial reports which will show the financial position of the union and consideration of the annual report amongst others.

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