The menace of temporary employment

SHARE   |   Monday, 25 April 2016   |   By Carter Hikuama
The menace of temporary employment

As I sit and observe this growing trend of unemployment as well as temporary employment, in our Country (Botswana) my heart is filled with grief and anger at the same time. In almost all government departments, private enterprises and many other institutions engaged in employment activities in the country are infested with temporary employees ranging in titles and positions from; Ipelegeng workers, interns, temporary teachers etc. This form of employment is a menace to the dignified life of our people - it robs them of their right to decent work and secured future. Our young people no longer have peace of mind neither do they have a guaranteed decent future. No wonder we rank the highest unhappy nation in the international scale! Our young people out of desperation found themselves in ‘piece jobs’ kind of work with no job security. A practice short of modern slavery! Unfortunately this anti-labour crusade is led by the government through its schemes and programmes. One area of great concern for temporary workers is the extent to which they are protected by the law. It becomes difficult for temporary workers engaged in a three months contract to join trade unions of their choice and engage in collective bargaining.

Temporary workers, interns, TS, and Ipelegeng workers are often ineligible for pension. These are people who can't plan for their future because they don't know what tomorrow holds for them. I am talking about people with university certificates, what more about those without! This ugly monster is caused by running an economy that fails to create job opportunities. In my opinion this is one area that should catch and attract the eye of our trade unions; firstly because it is against the spirit of decent work as defined by the ILO, secondly it works against trade unions as it deprives them of their potential members, thirdly it is a systematic way of creating poverty and powerless society. Temporary workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, lack representation and voice, and have inadequate protection from income loss during maternity leave, sickness, disability and/or any other social commitment. I think we need to make a case against government and urge it to develop sustainable job creation strategies.

Carter K Hikuama