UDC solidarity message to BURS striking workers

SHARE   |   Sunday, 02 August 2015   |   By Justin Hunyepa
Boko Boko

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) sends its solidarity message to the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) workers who are currently participating in a legal strike. The 11% requested is a reasonable demand that the government of Botswana can afford. We call upon all the striking workers and BOPEU members to continue mounting pressure on the government so that she accedes to your reasonable demands. Those still remaining behind at work should brave the intimidation from the employer and join forces with others as the fruits of the industrial action will benefit all. UDC applauds you for having exhausted all legal channels of social dialogue until you resolved to industrial action as your last resort. Workers in this country deserve decent working and living conditions.

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) led government should also learn to surrender to the workers’ legitimate and reasonable demands as her (BDP) conduct is now putting the country’s economic resources and general livelihoods to risk. The BDP led government is responsible for all the losses incurred and all negative effects on the society as a result of the industrial action. The government should therefore listen to the workers and speedily get back to the table to have this simple matter resolved before it spirals into a major unmanageable problem. BURS workers make billions of pulas for this country and yet their working and living conditions are very bad. The one time government department was privatised so that it can be more efficient and effective in collecting revenue for the country.

This efficiency and effectiveness should be matched with good salaries and other benefits.  It is unfortunate that the government still treats the transformed organisation like the old Customs and Excise department. It is further saddening to note that the government employees are all underpaid and yet they have created so much wealth for the country. During the 2015/16 Budget Speech debates, most Members of Parliament were in agreement that there was an urgent need for a total review of pay structures and conditions of service for all workers in the country. There is a big problem looming! Teachers are currently disgruntled and demotivated and yet government does not care about their marathon issues. Very poor examination results are awaiting the nation, again, as it has been happening for years now, and the government does not care at all. The wealth of the country should go down to the workers so that they produce good sustained results. The toiling working class is currently languishing in poverty traps and is becoming unproductive.

In conclusion, we call upon all the workers to unite and support each other for them to win such battles. Unity of all workers is paramount as it will obviously lead to huge successes. UDC once more applauds the workers for their initiative for the formation of a united front in the form of the umbrella party during the 2011 public sector strike. Through this unity and support of workers, UDC brought in 17 dynamic and committed MPs. UDC once again calls upon all the workers who are in the Goodhope-Mabule constituency to vote for Cde Lotlaareng II to parliament in the forthcoming bye-elections on 15 August. The current worker hardships have been brought forth by the former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Eric Molale who will only sustain your hardships as his party the BDP is refusing to appreciate the toiling underpaid workforce. Molale should be rejected outright as he has dismally failed the public sector during his time as PSP. The workers have long called for a united opposition, hence the umbrella. Comfort Maruping is currently outside the umbrella and voters, including the working class, should reject him too. Viva Workers power viva!

Justin Hunyepa
UDC Labour Secretary