• 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.