Court of Appeal judges have endorsed BOFEPUSU’s relevance in the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC). Delivering a judgement on Friday in Gaborone the three judges - Justice Ian Kirby, Isaac Lesetedi and Stephen Gaongalelwe - ruled that the acting jointly agreement is allowed under the PSBC constitution thus BOFEPUSU Acting Jointly Agreement is lawfully as one of the unions meets the one third thresholds as per the requirement. Gaongalelwe, who was delivering the judgement, said that the Acting jointly principle can be allowed if one of the members meets the threshold.
In the case of BOFEPUSU, the National Amalgamated Local Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union (NALCGPWU) met the threshold. “A fresh determination shall be made in terms of Article 7.3 using membership figures as at the date of this order as to whether the BOFEPUSU AJA still meets the membership threshold, in that one of its unions has a membership exceeding one third of all unionised public officers,” reads the judgement. On the pull out of Botswana Public Sector Union (BOPEU) from the joint agreement, the three judges said that by doing so it ceased to be a member of PSBC. On the application of Botlhe Bargaining Forum (BBF), the CoA ruled that one of its members must first meet the threshold for it to be admitted to the PSBC.
BBF is made up of Botswana Public Sector Union (BOPEU), Botswana Nurses Union (BONU), Botswana Government Employees Workers Union (BOGUWU) and Botswana Trainers and Allied Workers Union (TAWU). The CoA ordered that they should submit their verified members to the General Secretary of PSBC and if they meet the threshold they will be recognised as a trade union negotiating party. “If it does not do so, the 2016 wage negotiations shall resume with BOFEPUSU AJA as the sole union party,” reads the judgement. The court said that BOPEU shall be at liberty to apply for at any time for membership of the council should it reach a threshold, by amalgamating with small unions. Each party was ordered to bear its own costs of the appeal.