The Botswana National Front (BNF) condemns the endless onslaught and harassment of public service workers by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Government. Recently, the Botswana Land Boards Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAWHU) had to appeal with the High Court again as their President is being unreasonably denied secondment rights, in clear violation of international and domestic labour rights. The matter should not even have gone to court if the BDP government and the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) respected international and domestic labour legislation. The duo’s conduct is contemptuous of the spirit outlined in the International Labour Organisation fundamental conventions on Freedom of Association and the right to organise. On the domestic front, the government arrogantly and shamelessly violates the Trade Union and Employers Organisations act.
Interfering with administration of unions and denying office bearers organisational rights is a serious violation of labour legislation and is unacceptable.
We call upon legislators to make it easy for technocrats to be personally liable for these court costs by removing the government veil they always hide behind. In fact, the employers should always consider the cheaper negotiation and bargaining route than the expensive litigation highway. The DPSM has an unenviable record of protracted harassment of public service trade unions and even refusing to protect public service employees from malicious prosecution for offences inadvertently committed in the line of duty. We applaud trade unions for having remained on guard and protecting the working and living conditions of their members against the oppressive employers.
The BNF is a party rooted on the respect for and promotion of rights of workers and trade unions. The workers as creators of wealth must benefit from the proceeds of the economy and their sweat. We therefore stand in solidarity with workers in public, parastatals and private sector as outlined in the BNF social democratic programme, BNF strategic plan, BNF previous manifestos and recent UDC 2019 manifesto.
It is now clear that the BDP government has no reform potential in its almost 60 years of state power, and therefore Batswana must replace it with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the 2024 general elections.
Justin Hunyepa BNF Information & Publicity Secretary