Public officers who are members of trade unions affiliated to BOFEPUSU, who have not received a 3% and 4% salary increments, have resolved at a special congress in Palapye on Saturday to embark on a go slow at work if government denies them the adjustment. The decision is part of a set of resolutions taken shortly after the Bofepusu Acting Jointly Arrangement terminated its membership at Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) and notified the employer, Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), on Monday. The special congress endorsed the termination and also resolved that the federation should sue the employer for discriminatory treatment and lack parity if government does not award members of BOFEPUSU affiliated trade unions the 3% and 4% already enjoyed by other public servants. Among others BOFEPUSU spokesperson, Tobokani Rari, said on Monday that the meeting resolved that Bofepusu participate in and influence the political economy through engaging political parties and the civic groups aligned to the workers’ agenda among others. "That the federation intensify its mobilisation program through demonstrations and strenghten linkages with some community groups," reads one of the resolutions. A schedule for demonstrations has already been released and disseminated to members throughout the country.
Rari said they have been fighting to protect the principle of bargaining at PSBC, a resolution taken at a special congress in December 2016 in Tlokweng. He said on the other hand government, and lately with the support of BOPEU have been fighting to prevent PSBC from having teeth to bite. "They are conscious that what they are doing was having a negative impact on our members. That is what they wanted. When PSBC was busy negotiating, government pre-empted that process by awarding salary increases to those outside PSBC. In turn this put immense pressure on public officers belonging to trade unions in the PSBC as they were disadvantaged under pretext of negotiations. The current impasse is being used as a recruitment tool and campaign for our members to defect to BOPEU," said Rari, adding that long before the Justice Tshepo Motswagole's judgment -which ruled that PSBC decisions are binding on all public officers -their members had already started showing signs of taking strain and losing patience as their colleagues were enjoying increments.
According to Rari the two salary increases amount to more than just 7 % as the 4% recently awarded for 2017/18 was added to already enhanced salries from the previous financial year. Rari decried that the recent Justice Monametsi Gaongalelwe judgment, suspended Justice Motswagole's decision and meant that the differences caused by the two increments will continue until next year after the appeal is heard in October. He said they are disappointed that the judge decided to put the appeal in the October session when the Court of Appeal has a session in July. "Technically our members were going to spend a whole year without increments, while waiting the appeal," he said.
Rari said they expect DPSM to start paying the increments to their members because the DPSM Director, Ruth Maphorisa, has confirmed in a previous meeting with Bofepusu that every public officer who resigned from a trade union currently at PSBC was awarded the salary increase after notifying the employer. "Otherwise we will sue for differential treatment, lack of parity and discrimination depending on which union an employee belongs to, which contravenes Section 56 of the TradeUnions and Employers Organisations Act (TUEOA)," he said.