BOPEU signs pact with Ghanaian union

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 09 December 2014   |   By Keitebe Kgosikebatho

Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) has agreed to assist their Ghanaian counterparts - the Health Services Workers Union of Ghana - on how to diversify and explore investment opportunities in order to grow their institution financially.

Currently BOPEU owns about three buildings and has assets valued at about P35 million. The union was until recently a shareholder in Unigem (which they co-owned with four other unions) and has registered an insurance broker under its investment wing, Babereki Investments.

The two unions signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday. They are both affiliates of the Public Services International (PSI) - a global trade Union federation representing twenty million working women and men who deliver vital public services in 150 countries.

The MoU also among others signals the agreement by the two unions to exchange ideas and experiences relating to the issues and challenges facing the two unions in their respective countries. The two unions also identified the need to learn from each other and to study strategies being used in dealing with challenges in the public service.

The joint areas of  cooperation and  joint programs include exchange working visits, exchange of educational  programmes, exchange of research  work, building trade union solidarity, participation in delegates conferences, information on youth organizing, women affirmative action programme and investment opportunities.

BOPEU and their Ghanaian counter parts entered into the bilateral relations on August 7th, 2014 in Ghana when the former visited Ghana, the signing in Botswana was the second leg of sealing the agreement.

Speaking after the signing BOPEU Secretary General Tobias Marenga said the leadership of the two unions agreed to undertake exchange working visits to each union to share and explore experiences in trade union leadership, management and strategy.  The working visits, he says, would also focus on studying the organisational structures, learning the best practices of each in both unions and also studying policy framework of the unions for purposes of comparative analysis and reference.

The two unions  according to Marenga  will also share and exchange research work, the two unions he said had agreed to share  research outputs including bulletins, newsletters and other  relevant  periodicals  as tool to support  education and training  as well as  enhancing  vibrancy  and growth  of the two unions . “This shall also include information on collective bargaining,” said Marenga.

On Women affirmative action programme, he said, they found the need for exchange  programme to sensitise women  members of  BOPEU on  affirmative  action, Women’s committee specific programmes and issues, gender equality, gender mainstream and parity and critical issue concerning women.

Present during the signing were members of the Health Services Workers Union of Ghana who along with other unions from across Africa had attended BOPEU’s annual conference in Palapye during the course of the week.