Like students returning from a long vacation, striking workers this week had their ‘first day’ back at work after eight weeks of the ‘holidays’. We called a few of them to find out how their day had gone.
Ketlhapeleng Karabo a senior technical officer in the Ministry of Agriculture remarked: “My first day at primary school was better than my first day after the strike. We found things at zero, no change, and no progress. However, the motivating factor was my immediate supervisor who said all people would be treated equally. Opportunities while be based on merit and nothing else.”
Steve Mogorosi, Messenger at Suppliers: “We didn’t experience any intimidation or hostility. However there was one incident when I was talking with a fellow employee who had been with me at the strike. As we spoke another employee, who had not been on strike, said that if we wanted to stand around chatting we should go back to the Chedu Choga grounds. I reported the issue to our supervisor and it was dealt with. But besides that I guess the other employees who didn’t strike are slowly warming up to us.”
Marea Manyanga, a science teacher at a Community Junior Secondary School: “The day was just tense, those who did not take part in the strike were in their corner in the staffroom, and by all means avoided us. We reported to the staffroom and waited for the school head to address us. On her arrival she tried by all means to make us welcome and emphasized that we were not enemies, and we should perform as we did before the strike. When the school head was about to conclude the brief meeting with a prayer, one of the shop stewards referred her back to the work notes from BOFEPUSU. We informed her (school head) that we were now back to work and according to the school calendar it was time for exams, and we were ready to invigilate. The school head in response said nothing had been done and they had been waiting for us since the ministry had not employed any temporary teachers.”
Chief strike marshal in Francistown, Time Moupi’s day was strangely inactive after his hectic involvement in the strike: “Since I am a meat inspector at the BMC, my first port of call was the head of station who told me there was no work for me there as due to the the Foot and Mouth outbreak they were not slaughtering. He directed me to the main office to be deployed on the field. When I got there the supervisor acknowledged my presence but did not assign me to anything, and at 12 noon I told him I was going out! On Wednesday it was the same, until I asked if I am I invisible or what! My colleagues were happy to have me back, and said that at least government employees are alive and are a voice to reckon with.”