Industrial court judge Harold Ruhukya ruled on Monday that the unilateral decision by government to award 3 per cent increase for the public service amounts to bargaining in bath faith and agreed with BOFEPUSU to interdict the 3% increment. The court noted however that for the month of April, the 3% adjustment in the salaries of the public servants has already effected as demonstrated by the defendants, and as such the interdict would effect for month of May onwards. The judgement is an interim order returnable to court on 25th April 2016 where government would show cause why the order cannot be made final. BOFEPUSU Secretary General Tobokani Rari said they are happy with the outcome, and will await confirmation of the temporary order, which will pavw the way for bargaining to take place at the Public Sector Bargaining Council (PSBC). He said; "We are indeed elated and gratified by this morning's judgement.
We have always held that it's a mistaken belief by government and some within the labour fraternity that the PSBC is defunct, the PSBC is there and bofepusu is still an admitted up until the court of appeal pronounces otherwise in a case that would be heard on 26th April 2016. This is what the court has re - soundly and emphatically affirmed today. Today's judgement should send a stern warming to government that no matter how state machinery could be powerful, it cannot undermine the laws of this country. It cannot under whatever circumstances be above law. Government just as trade unions has duty to bargain and engage unions candidly and in good faith as provided for by the law. The Monday ruling is the second time that courts hold that government has undermined the established procedures and acted in bath faith contrary to the available laws governing the process of negotiations.
Last year the High Court held that when President Ian Khama and the then Director of DPSM Carter Morupisi made pronouncement about salary negotiations in 2013 & 2014 when the PSBC was seized with the matter, it amounted to bad faith negotiations. "We are really surprised that hot in the heels of the last judgement, government commits the same error. In our view, this could a deliberate act of undermining the rule of law. To public servants of this country, we appeal to them to remain calm and patient, we appeal to them understand that the issue is not about a 3% increment, but it's about safeguarding and jealously protecting the bargaining power of the public service in this country. The public servants should understand that it has never happened anywhere in the world where the employer generously award workers for their service without being pushed through a bargaining process by the unions. This is what we are fighting for. This evident from the last year negotiations where the employer came with 3% and was pushed in bargaining process to a 6%," said Rari.