Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) would like to declare its support for the rest of the international trade union movement on demanding for governments to meet responsibilities of creating jobs, and just jobs for that matter, as the world commemorates the International Day on Decent Work October 7, 2021.
The BFTU contends that the onset of the covid-19 pandemic has more than just impacted on existing fabric of social and economic life, it has taught us that in the absence of robust job plans and a commitment on the part of government to see to their realization, a degeneration of values and diminishing of standards becomes unavoidable.The loss of employment and casualization of work that ensued from the decline of business during the pandemic and growth of the informal sector have presented glaring evidence of what stands to become of the world of work when there is no deliberate intervention.
Such interventions for example would entail suitable social security and protection schemes.It is in that context, that BFTU proposes that government actively seek out for dialogue with other social partners, namely workers’ and employers’ organizations and deliberate on developing sound employment creation plans aimed at providing decent work for dignified livelihoods.
The implementation of the decent work country programme signed by the tripartite in February 2020 is a critical part of the recovery of the economy of Botswana.Under the theme, “Just Jobs and calling on governments to develop job plans”, it is argued that Decent Work must be at the centre of government’s actions to bring back economic growth and contributing to the building of a new global economy that puts people first.
On that basis, we posit that the state must heed the call from working men and women for decent wages, safe and secure jobs and to not allow greedy corporations or capricious private sector players setting the rules for the national economy.However so, according to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), whether new jobs are created or governments would create good or decent jobs is dependent largely on the content of the job creation plans, of which we submit should involve all the relevant stakeholders.Some of the components for successful job creation plans, according to ITUC, include;
. A strengthened industrial policy to support domestic industries Public investment, especially in climate friendly industries
. Direct creation of jobs through the public sector and infrastructure programmes Regulation, incentives and procurement practices that promote decent work
. Full involvement of unions in the development of jobs plans.We thus share the view of the ITUC that one of the most effective ways of creating jobs is investing in public services considering that in addition to improving living standards for everyone, the multiplier effect of spending on public services has a positive economic impact.
BFTU takes this opportunity to highlight the need for reconsideration of the structure of schemes like Ipelegeng to determine whether by any definition they offer what could amount to decent work, whether in terms of their earnings or terms and conditions under which they operate.The disparities in incomes of highest paid public servants and the least paid in the Ipelegeng schemes should bear out sufficient reason for concern in respect of the deterioration in living standards and need to consider robust employment creation plans, living wage and other pertinent social protection measures.
We implore all trade unions in Botswana to play their role in the implementation of the decent work country agenda and capacitate their members so that they could be able to engage better with employers on matters pertaining to decent work deficits at their respective workplaces.
Thusang Butale (Mr)