‘Union negotiations end in stalmate’

The Botswana Public Employees Union(BOPEU) President Andrew Motsamai revealed today there were no face to face talks with counterparts at the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) adding that his union was unable to reach a consensus with them because their positions were considered too far apart with the Court of Appeal set to resolve impasse.

It was proposed that all four BOFEPUSU trade unions be taken as lawfully admitted as a unit and not individually, in November 2011 and that the Public Service Bargaining Council(PSBC) determine whether BOPEU, the Botswana Nurses Union(BONU) and the Trainers and Allied Workers Union(TAWU) under the name Botlhe Bargaining Forum(BBF) comply with requirements of PSBC.
BOFEPUSU insisted the PSBC use a threshold of 28,780 and only the union membership numbers of the BBF trade unions as at 4th February 2016 be employed.

"Then effect of the terms is that the three 'minority trade unions' which are in BOFEPUSU will be permitted to participate in the wage negotiations and also that the position held by BOPEU that admission into PSBC should be on an individual basis and not group numbers be dealt away," said Andrew Motsamai, President of BOPEU.

He said, "The effect of the terms stated is that BOPEU will not benefit from whatever numbers which it managed to secure between 4th February 2016 and the present date. Membership numbers will be capped at the figures as they existed as at 4th February 2016. The reason for this is to deny BOPEU the right to present its latest higher numbers and in the process to make BOPEU's admission into the PSBC a pie in the sky. The proposed terms are purely self serving by the BOFEPUSU group and should be rejected outright. There is no justified reason, if BOPEU can prove increased membership figures, to deny it from benefitting from such figures."

BOFEPUSU stipulated in its proposed out of court settlement agreement, that BOPEU should abandon the Industrial Court Judgements in its favour and that BOPEU should pay its legal costs.

"The very essence of an out of court settlement is to achieve a win-win outcome. There is no win if BOPEU pays its own lawyers fees and the costs of the opponents lawyers. This gives the impression that BOPEU admits that it acted wrongly in the whole matter, something that is very far from the truth. The better approach should rather be that if settlement is reached, then each party must foot its own legal fees," stressed Motsamai.

On Tuesday 26th April 2016, the Court of Appeal advised conflicting two parties being BOPEU and BOFEPUSU and its constituent unions to settle out of court with BOPEU lobbying for an inclusive Public Service Bargaining Council for individual trade unions by reducing the threshold for participation in the Council to 5000, to accommodate the smaller unions.

"There is no way that PBSC can go on there way it is. No one qualifies to sit on PSBC," observed Motsamai.


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