The Federation BOFEPUSU has late learnt with great shock and disappointment about the move by government to adjust salaries, allowances and conditions of service of non–unionised employees within the public service. This adjustment means that, yet again, government moves to adjust salaries for a certain section of the Public Service (non – unionized) and leaves out another (the unionized) for the second financial year running. We note as well that this is done under a flimsy excuse that there is restraining order that prohibits government from adjusting the salaries and related allowances of public servants who are members of unions admitted into the PSBC. We view the reason used at 4 above as distortion of facts and outright half untruths meant to mislead the public. In fact, Court has restrained unilateral increments and directed that government is bound by law to take any proposed increment to the PSBC. The public and workers in general should note that this is the route (to bargain as ordered by the courts) that government does not want to take. This action by government comes hardly four (4) months after government refused to bargain at the Public Service Bargaining Council under the pretext that the courts are still seized with a matter that would determine the scope of PSBC. BOFEPUSU then, and it is still our conviction even now, felt that the issue of the scope though before the courts, should not bottle down the negotiation process as it was merely an interpretation issue for the operations of the council going forward.
Government remained steadfast that they would only continue with the negotiations if BOFEPUSU withdraws the case, or when the courts have dispensed off the case. Faced with the above predicament, BOFEPUSU opted to pursue the case rather than opting to negotiate. The public and workers in general should note that, central to the issue that was heard by Justice Motswagole of which judgment is awaited, was whether the outcome of the PSBC should affect all the public servants or only those whose unions are admitted into the PSBC, and as such, one would safely say that this matter of whether to increase for the non–unionised outside the PSBC or not is a matter which the courts are still seized with. We are surprised and taken aback by the fact that government has now somersaulted and decided to increase salaries and allowances for the non – unionized employees, delving into a matter that is central to the arguments of the case of the scope of the PSBC that is still before the courts, and, which there themselves used as a basis for refusal to bargain. We find this conduct by government not only inconsistent, but also malicious, resembling bad intentions, and reminiscent of hypocrisy of the worst order. We note that the Permanent Secretary to the President Mr. Cater Morupisi made this erratic and outrageous pronouncement contrary to established procedure that the Director of DPSM would make such. In his power-mongering act, Mr Morupisi has usurped the powers of DPSM and sidelined Mrs Maphorisa who is the Director of DPSM.
This confirms our long held fears that Mr. Morupisi is the one who misleads government on issues of the PSBC and public service in general. He precipitates divisions within the public service and he is the reason for the low morale in the public service. Mr Morupisi is imprinting a regrettable legacy of a divided and demoralized civil service. Under his tenure as Director of DPSM and P.S.P we have witnessed regression, nepotism, maladministration and rising institutionalised corruption. It is clear that Mr Morupisi is responsible for the current mess in the public service and therefore not fit for office. He should voluntarily resign, failing which we call on the President to relieve him of his duties. Our honest opinion is that government has allowed itself to be misled by one man, Mr. Cater Morupisi, who is the sole reason for the low morale in the Public Service. All these events have the potential to destabilize the peace and tranquility of Botswana. We would like to urge Batswana to take government to task over this action. As a way forward, we have consulted our attorneys whom we have instructed to file an urgent application to interdict the current unilateral salary increment, to wait for determination of the Court so that the Council can be given a chance to deal with the salary negotiations and conditions as per the mandate of the P.S.B.C.
Yours in struggle,
Tobokani Nicholas Rari
BOFEPUSU Secretary General