- Tshukudu says President Masisi is inconsistent
- Lawyer says public sector salaries are stagnant
- BOFEPUSU accuses govt of ignoring court orders
The Botswana Federation of Public Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) and labour experts have criticised President Mokgweetsi Masisi for failing to improve the welfare and livelihoods of workers in Botswana within both the public and private sectors.
To track the President’s progress in handling labour issues since ascending to office in April 2018, The Business Weekly & Review contacted the president of BOFEPUSU, Johannes Tshukudu, who outrightly dismissed President Masisi for inconsistency and sloppy approach to labour issues. “Our government (is) careless about workers,” Tshukudu said in a brief telephone interview. He listed low wages, shortage of accommodation and office space, unsafe working conditions as examples of a catalogue of challenges that workers in Botswana currently face.
Asked whether he is satisfied with the state of labour relations in Botswana, the unionist answered: “Hell, no! Masisi is not handling labour issues with zeal and political consistency.” He said the President is in the habit of doing things for public sympathy while “ignoring concerned stakeholders”, adding that the government employs the divide and rule tactics by supporting minority unions against and disdaining others.
Tshukudu said workers in Botswana are not remunerated in accordance with standards across the world. In addition, the Masisi government has a tendency of defying court orders when it is ordered to pay people after losing cases. Regarding the Public Sector Bargaining Council (PSBC), Tshukudu said failure to revive and set it up properly is attributable to the government’s lack of seriousness. Labour lawyer Mpho Chingapane spoke in much the same vein about labour issues, saying it is hard to tell if the government is dealing in good faith “since we are yet to bargain for salaries”.
Speaking in an interview, Chingapane said the government has not seriously enquired into reviewing salaries and examined the salary regime of the private sector or to at least compare Botswana with international pay rates. “This is why we currently have high income inequality,” he said. “It is owing to the stagnancy of public remuneration.” The anticipated wage and salary negotiations are likely to merely “limit the government to 4 percent increment and such an increment will not be sufficient or make our labour standards competitive”, he asserted.