President of Court of Appeal Ian Kirby has called on Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) and Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) to explore the mediation process. Responding to the arguments between the two advocates representing the two parties Advocate Graham Leslie for BOFEPUSU and Martin Brassey SC for BOPEU, Kirby said that there is nothing legal about the case. “This is just a squabble over power and no legal reasons here,” said the Court of Appeal President adding that should they continue with the case it might take weeks before a judgement is reached. Kirby alongside Justices Stephen Gaongalelwe and Isaac Lesetedi called on the two advocates to meet with their clients and negotiate for a consent agreement.
Ruling by the Industrial Court Judge President Justice Tebogo Maruping early this year struck BOFEPUSU from the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). During the judgment Justice Maruping said BOFEPUSU is not entitled to be admitted into the Public Service Bargaining Council; Only trade unions recognized by the government of Botswana on its capacity as the employer, are entitled to be admitted into the Public Service Bargaining Council; and that - For the purposes of verification of whether or not a trade union party should continue to be admitted, the PSBC should take into consideration the individual membership figures of each union rather than as a collective. As if appealing to the parties to resolve their differences, Justice Kirby said workers out there were crying for their salary increment, hence the need to resolve the issue quickly.
He said both parties should appear in court on May 10, 2016 to inform it if they managed to reach a consensus if not the court of appeal will make a ruling. In an interview after the case both BOFEPUSU and BOPEU leaders said that they are ready for reconciliation. “This is what we have been saying all along that we need to meet and iron out our differences,” said BOFEPUSU Secretary General Tobokani Rari. BOPEU President Andrew Motsamai said they are ready for mediation with their bitter rivals.