Civil service threaten to strike

After staging a massive strike to demand salary increment eight years ago, government employees are still fighting tooth and nail for salary adjustments and better working conditions.

Last week, representatives of the six public sector trade unions under BOFEPUSO labour federation, travelled across the country to give their members updates on the latest developments on the ongoing salary negotiations that were held in Lobatse.

In Francistown and surrounding areas, trade union members told representatives of BOFEPUSU, Lekang Tshekatsheko Lekang and Gotlamang Oitsile to go back to the negotiating table with government.

The two representatives were further instructed not to give in or change their position of demanding that all public service salaries be adjusted one band or a scale up.

During the five- day mission, in which Lekang and Oitsile were seeking a way forward from their members in Masunga, Tutume and Francistown following a collapse of negotiations with government, some of the action items suggested by fed up members included, securing a meeting with President Masisi in person instead of meeting his envoy, followed by strike action if the meeting does not yield desired results.

Peter Tembo from the Manual Workers union said,“Is it not possible for you to meet President Mokgweetsi Masisi face to face? We need one- on- one with the employer. They are prolonging the talks and this is a delay tactic by the employer. If the talks fail, then let’s down tools and go out and march on the streets.”

“We will carry our placards with drawings of an umbrella. We need to shake this government. They should be aware that it is now time for us to change and usher in a new government. Comrades, time is ripe for us to check other political parties which will take our concerns seriously,” charged Temo who has been a government employee for the past 34 years.

A Staunch trade unionist. Mpho Mosweu cut to the chase and said, “This government has been cheating us for years, particularly us the industrial class workers. We have been patient and lenient. It is time for us to go back to Chedu Choga grounds. Areyeng ko Setlhareng!”

In the highly charged atmosphere, public service employees’ reached a consensus to mount more pressure on government to adjust their salaries in line with the recommendations of PEMADU report before elections in October.

According to PEMANDU report, Botswana government employees are the least paid in comparison to Namibia, South