Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) has called on teachers to withdraw from sporting activities to avoid being exploited by the employer through slave wages that are implemented unlawfully to compensate for their contribution. Through a strongly worded letter to teachers and the general public, dated 4th June 2019 and titled Participation in Sporting Activities by Teachers, BOSETU Secretary General Tobokani Rari said ministry officials are deliberately undermining and violating laid down statutes governing the relationship between government and civil servants over negotiable matters in their conditions of service.
1. Reference is made to the above subject matters.
2. This correspondence is prompted by the communication released to Directors, Regional Operations of the Ministry of Basic Education, by the Permanent Secretary of the same Ministry, Ms Bridget P. John on 3rd June 2019.
3. The release infers that there is an ongoing review of the “Sports Management Models” whose intent will be to identify a model that will accord learners an opportunity to obtain optimal benefit from the school sports program.
4. As BOSETU, a teacher trade union representing about 16 500 educators, we would like to confirm to our members, and the nation at large, that we are not party to the process stated at paragraph 3 above. We further confirm that the Ministry of Basic Education did not extend us an invitation to partake in the exercise, nor were we made aware of the exercise.
5. We are of the opinion that this exercise impacts on the educators’ conditions of service. Consequently, we believe that as a recognized trade union organizing in the education sector, we should have been consulted on this matter as it falls within the ambit of our core mandate.
6. We regret to note that paragraph 2 of the said savingram exposes our members and educators in general, to unfavorable working conditions. The said paragraph is partially herein quoted for ease of reference; “teachers who will take part in sports shall be entitled to a nominal participation allowance determined and adopted last year”, and that, “the participation allowance shall be paid by BISA.”
7. We find the contents of the said paragraph not only unacceptable and undermining to the trade union and educators, but also demeaning to both and ultra vires to the provisions of the Employment Act (sections 94 and 95). We further note that the ministry is using this allowance to defeat the letter, spirit and intent of this law especially regarding the regulation of overtime.
8. For starters, allowances, by their nature, are part of employees’ conditions of service. It therefore is the duty of recognized trade unions like BOSETU to negotiate, or at the barest minimum to be consulted on. We regret to admit that in this case none of the afore mentioned took place. This on its own is a further flagrant and glaring violation of the provisions of other legal statutes viz; TUEOA, TDA and the PSA.
9. It is disheartening to note that putting so much of their time and labour, educators find themselves appreciated with this ‘nominal allowance.’ This so-called allowance is far less than what they would be compensated with had the provisions of the Employment Act stated above been respected. We therefore find this arrangement to be exploitative.
10. Flowing from the above, we call upon our members, and educators in general, to
forthwith quit and withdraw from any sporting activities under this remuneration
arrangement. We are convinced this arrangement is exploitative and borders on
Tobokani Nicholas Rari