The raging union war between Botswana Federation of Public Sector Union (BOFEPUSU) and Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) is far from over as the two failed to reach an out of court settlement. The court of appeal two weeks asked the two parties to settle out of court the matter over the composition of the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). On Tuesday the two parties informed the Court of Appeal that they have met and failed to reach an out of court agreement. Responding to the outcome CoA President Justice Ian Kirby said that the issue is a complex one which will take some time before they can release a judgement.
BOFEPUSU proposed that the acting jointly arrangement currently comprising the four trade unions should be duly admitted as a party to the council while BOPEU should go through verification process to determine if they meet the threshold. In the event that they meet the threshold they will be admitted into the council. In an interview, BOFEPUSU Secretary General Tobokani Rari said they will suspend the 2016/17 salary negotiations until BOPEU or Botlhe Bargaining Forum has gone through verification process.
“The council will apportion the trade union seats on the council between BOFEPUSU and the BBF in accordance with clause 5 of the Constitution,” said Rari, adding that they will be entitled to participate in the 2016/17 salary and condition of service negotiations. BOFEPUSU also wants BOPEU to irrevocably abandons both judgements of the Industrial Court granted in its favour recently and notify the CoA about their decision. On the other hand, BOPEU wants the threshold for admission to be reduced to 5000 members of all recognised trade unions in terms of the Public Service Act.
“Further that admission to the PSBC; be limited only to individual trade unions as compared to an ‘Acting Jointly Arrangement’. The acting jointly arrangement shall only be permissible where there is a union admitted into the PSBC in its own right,” reads BOPEU’s proposal. One of the stalemates is also the proposal by BOFEPUSU that BOPEU should pay all the legal costs of the appeal.