Windfall for public servants!

SHARE   |   Sunday, 05 April 2015   |   By Keitebe Kgosikebatho
BOFEPUSO Deputy Secretary General Motshegwa BOFEPUSO Deputy Secretary General Motshegwa

• Six percent salary increasing
• Housing and Upkeep allowance
• Full salary on study leave
• Compliance with law on Overtime payment
• Leave encashment challenges to be addressed 


Chief Negotiator for the union party Deputy secretary general of the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU), Ketlhalefile Motshegwa has labeled the outcome of the public service  negotiations on salary and other conditions of service for the year 2015/16 as fair.
Public service employees on  salary grade D1 and below  have been awarded a salary increase of six percent for the financial  year  2015 /16  effective  1st April 2015. Presenting resolution no.3 of the bargaining council to members of the media on Friday in Gaborone, Motshegwa who was also the chief negotiator during the bargaining process said that although the trade union did not get entirely what they had put forth on the table it was worth commending that for the first time in four years after its inception the Public Service Bargaining Council has managed to make a resolution.
According to Motshegwa although six percent is way below the 16 percent salary increment they had initially wanted, it was a step in the right direction. “ while government maintains that the economy cannot sustain our proposal of 16 percent salary hike we believe it can and going forward the trade union will continue striving for more,” said Motshegwa.
He commended government for  complying  with  the council’ s rules of engagement and also saying that their  standard of sharing information was done in a mutual and transparent manner.
Sharing his deputy’sentiments, BOFEPUSU Secretary General Tobokani Rari also said the negotiations were fair. Although he also concede that negotiating  salary increment proved to be one of the most difficult points of the bargaining, Rari was of the view that  the negotiations begot  other  positives for workers such as  the housing  and upkeep allowance and full salary payment  during study leave.
Rari said  the promising outcome of this bargaining council  negotiations will be used as a point of reference for future  negotiations between the two parties.
Beside the 6 percent  salary increment, government employees on D1 grade and under  will qualify for a  new allowance  named , housing  and Upkeep Allowance which shall apply  according to salary grade.
Housing and upkeep allowance  will phase out  the Temporary  Recession Relief Allowance (TRRA) effective  1ST  April 2015. It will also incorporate the housing allowance  that was proposed  by the trade union.
According  to the bargaining council resolution, employees on salary  Grade D1 and below will be entitled  to full pay on study  leave  for the duration of their studies (in-service training) also effective  1ST April 2015.
The council also noted  that  the trade Union’s demand with regard to overtime payment and leave  encashment  was in line  with existing  policy as stipulated and articulated in  section 12 (1)-(6)  of the public service  regulations of 2010 and  public service management directive  no.5 of 2004.
Remote Area Service Allowance  (RASA)  will  not be reviewed  during the current  financial year 2015/16, however  it was agreed  that the employer  party should engage  the Trade union party in dealing with  the implementation challenges  of RASA.
Be that as it may,  there were several other  items that the parties agreed to disagree  on during the course of their negotiations. This include  the introduction  of paternity leave, payment of membership fees for professional  bodies by the employer and the payment  of 13th  cheque  during   the  years  without  public  service salary  adjustments.
Other items were deferred  pending further  research / investigation by the parties and  they may be  brought back  to council at a time/date  to be determined by them,. The include; payment  of entertainment  allowance  to all offices  on salary Grade D1, enhancement  of subsistence  allowance,  pension contribution for employees on salary  Grades A1 to a3 and medical aid contributions for employees  on salary Grade B1 and below.
 Negotiations  on the proposed  salary adjustments   for all public  service employees  for the subsequent  years  should be  undertaken  between the  months of September and October each year in order to align the public service  negotiations  with the government  budgeting  process  cycle.
Meanwhile scores of government employees have welcomed the  salary hike, saying  after the long wait the increment ,though is not what they had wanted through their unions  it was better than nothing.  For  one local government employee in Palapye, the increment  will definitely do a difference to his income, especially that it comes with some allowances. Another civil servant who work for a government tertiary  institution in Maun also said  the increment was long overdue. She said even though its lesser than what she had expected, there was no use for trade unions to stick to the initial percentage, as government was not willing to budge. Having joined the public service just two years back, 28 year old  Dimpho, who works as an accounting officer in one government ministry welcomed the increment saying it will propel her  chances of topping up her loan in one of the local financial institutions.

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