Francistown — A cordial relationship between government and public sector unions is crucial in the country's development, says Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Mr Kabo Morwaeng.
Addressing workers on behalf of President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi during International Labour Day commemoration in Francistown Saturday, he said public officers played a pivotal role in running the country's economy.
The minister cited frontline workers engaged in the fight against COVID-19 saying their contribution was crucial in every aspect of life.
Therefore, he said, dialogue between unions and government should continue for the betterment of public servants' welfare and conditions of service.
Minister Morwaeng said government would continue to engage trade unions in an amicable manner to address their problems noting that a lot of issues were still on the table.
He encouraged unions to take advantage of government's open door policy.
In his solidarity message, Mayor Godisang Radisego appealed to civil servants to remain hopeful that government would address their grievances.
He explained that government had prioritised eradication of COVID-19 which continued to drain state coffers.
"COVID-19 has derailed government plans to develop Batswana but remain hopeful that once the country recovers, your concerns will be addressed fully," he added.
He pointed out that civil servants played a pivotal role in the running of the economy therefore could not be ignored.
Government, he said, was counting on public servants in the fight against COVID-19.
He also said his office was open to handle any grievances from public sector employees, especially those working for the municipality.
In his welcome remarks, Manual Worker's Union Francistown region secretary Ms Mamosale Mogale accused Francistown City Council of violating the law by failing to provide some employees with protective clothing.
She also warned of a growing trend of workers being threatened with dismissal.
Giving a vote of thanks, Manual Workers Union Francistown region organising chairperson, Mr Thatayamodimo Xhabue confirmed that there were increasing reports of employees being threatened with expulsion citing five cases they had to deal with last month.
Mr Xhabue thanked government for reinstating many of the employees fired for participating in the 2011 strike.
He said trade unions promoted good governance and therefore government should listen to their concerns and address their problems amicably.
Mr Xhaubue complained that the recent Value Added Tax (VAT) increase was digging deep into public servants' pockets and called for a salary increment.
BOSETU president, Mr Wiston Radikolo appealed for the ratification of International Labour Organisation Convention 155 dealing with occupational health and safety.
This year's commemoration was held under the theme: "Respect occupational health safety as fundamental rights at work".
Source : BOPA