Botswana: Govt Commits to Constructive Employee Relations

Palapye — Government remains resolute in its commitment to a constructive employee relations as evidenced by salary negotiations between government and public service unions that were held in Lobatse on January 31 and February.

Officially opening Botswana Teaches Union (BTU) 5th Congress in Palapye on July 13 President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said parties involved in the negotiations successfully concluded agreement for financial years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, the first ever agreed back to back salary increment for public officers.

He explained that the second round of negotiations between government and public service unions on conditions of service for public officers was about to begin.

"At this juncture it is important for me to note that some of the conditions of service are contained in the PEMANDU Consultancy report, which was shared with public sector unions in April this year," he said.

Dr Masisi explained that a consultancy report gave suggestions and proposals for consideration by government and did not represent the position of government.

He said such considerations were made within the context of the prevailing socio-economic circumstances with a view to observing what was economically feasible and sustainable.

He stated that the tri-partite Labour Law Review Committee that was assigned to observe the labour laws as well as the Public Service Act had agreed in principle that teachers should no longer be recognised as an essential service.

This conclusion came about after the committees meeting held July 10 to 11.

He indicated that while salaries were important, teaching remained a vocation, a calling and therefore, there was need for teachers' commitment to continue in the service and provide leadership and guidance to students.

Due to the fact that the teaching profession was regarded as unique and peculiar, he said the Public Service Act should be amended to accommodate issues that specifically spoke to the terms and conditions of teachers.

Government he said, recognised trade unions including BTU as critical stakeholders in the development and noted that trade unions should remain committed to the welfare of its members, matters of productivity, good work ethics and discipline in the workplace.

They should also encourage members to work diligently for the economic prosperity of the country to contribute to the creation of the much needed employment, he said.

Dr Masisi emphsised the need to improve Botswana's competitive ranking in the global economy something he said could be realised through education.

"As bargaining for the welfare of constituents commences, it is important to look beyond the present situation and focus on the future we envisage for our country as articulated in the National Vision 2036 which espouses Achieving Prosperity for all," he said.

He said this was the future where Botswana would have achieved sustainable economic development powered by a knowledge based economy.

For his part, Assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology and also Member of Parliament for Palapye, Mr Moisraele Goya acknowledged BTU for once again holding the congress in Palapye.

He said such stimulated the economy of the village.

Palapye, he said had become a destination of choice.

Mr Goya said President Masisi's attendance demonstrated the value he attached to the teaching profession more so that he was a former teacher.

Meanwhile, President Masisi also launched the Borehole Drilling Scheme for BTU members.

The Congress was held under the theme: The role of Botswana Teachers Union in the Restoration of Public Confidence on Public Education.

Source : BOPA

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