Industrial strike looms

Bame Piet
Tobokani Rari

Big 5 unions demand 15% salary increment

The five major Public Service unions BOPEU, BOSETU, BLAHWU, BTU and BONU have threatened to embark on a national strike if their demands for a 15 percent salary increment are not met during the ongoing negotiations with the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM).

The negotiations commenced on Wednesday and are expected to be completed on Friday.

Speaking to the Voice on Tuesday, BOSETU Secretary General Tobokani Rari said the negotiations are a continuation of the previous ones held on 23rd March 2024, which were adjourned for the parties to further consult their constituents on whether their mandate can be reviewed.

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“Our members were very clear that the 15 percent is in order. They also gave unions the go ahead to negotiate down,” said Rari.

He said that if the parties fail to reach a compromise, the unions will engage the Commissioner of Labour for mediation.

“If the mediation process fails, it’ll give way for industrial action,” said Rari.

“I can not tell as to when the strike will take place because it depends on the processes that have to be explored,” he said.

In a recent interview on the BOSETU podcast, Rari said the unions were disturbed by a recent 10 percent overtime allowance for Senior civil servants on E Scale and above which he said has created a huge disparity in the civil service

While unions are confident that their demands will be met, it increasingly looks like both government and unions are headed for a showdown as the employer continues to play hardball.

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Government has made it clear that the five percent increment has been effected and there’s no budget for an additional 10 percent.

Director General of Public Service Management Gaone Macholo stated in her recent media engagements that the economy is not performing well, and that they also have to mitigate other challenges such as the ongoing drought, unemployment, and others.

She said the recent schemes such as Chema Chema are meant to stimulate the economy and it is hoped that the impact will be realized late in the year or at the beginning of 2025.

She also explained that the 10 percent overtime allowance for Senior officials from the E Scale and above was indeed a compromise and cost saving measure that is proving to be effective and saving money for the government.

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