Negotiations between Government and six cooperating public sector unions on the adoption of the PEMANDU Salary Report have been postponed again for a later date with final conclusion not yet reached by the two parties.
The negotiations resumed on Monday this week in Mahalapye before they were postponed to August 25 following the first meetings that were held in Lobatse at the beginning of the month. The 6 Cooperating Public Sector Trade Unions namely; BOSETU, BLLAHWU, BONU, BTU, BOPEU, NALCGPWU are engaging with government on negotiations over recommendations of the PEMANDU Report and other conditions of service for public servants.
PEMANDU report has been a source of conflict between the trade unions and government, as the unions demand that the recommendations of the report be implemented without fail.
One of the key findings of PEMANDU was that government should develop a remuneration policy that would then give direction in all aspects of remuneration in the Public Service.
It has also established that the salary rates are below market rates hence not being competitive enough in terms of attracting and retaining talent, emphasizing that the gap is bigger at the higher grades.
On average according to PEMANDU, public service pay scales substantially lag behind the national citizen market by 28%, 40% and 55% for Grade A and B, Grade C and D and Grade E and above respectively.
Efforts to get update from the coordinator of the 6 cooperating unions, Tobokani Rari hit a snag as his mobile phone rang unattended to on Friday. However, in a co-authored press statement by the Deputy Chairperson from Employer party Neo Mosalakatane and Union Deputy Chairperson Samuel Molaodi, insists that negotiations were held in a cordial atmosphere, anchored on mutual respect, good faith and transparency.
The statement further says negotiations adjourned to accord the parties an opportunity to reflect on deliberations as they are scheduled to resume on the 25th August 2019.
Government negotiating party have proposed a Remuneration Policy for the public service as it warns any considerations on the conditions for the public service that have financial implications be approached with caution.
The government party also argues that the economic outlook is sluggish as the overall budget proposal ‘deficit is expected to worsen to P 7.79 billion as this is largely accounted for the by the recent salary adjustments.
In addition, the employer’s position is that the overtime expenditure commitments have been running against the volatile government revenues, emphasizing that there is a need to restrain expenditure going forward, in a bid to avoid further substantive budget deficit.
PEMANDU consultancy noted that there is no policy governing remuneration, and therefore, recommends that a remuneration policy be developed to inform decision making in the Public Service.
Unions want equitable pay
The six cooperating unions through their joint Negotiations Joint Paper (NPP) insists that the Botswana public service has issues of pay equity for years, arguing that the current salary structure is uncompetitive as it pays below the market pay.
Furthermore, the unions’ position is that government is aware of the importance of remuneration in attracting talent to the public service because it experiences both inabilities to attract talent as well as loss of talent to the private sector.
With regards to pay equity, trade unions stipulate that a good remuneration provides a basis for transparent, consistent, predictable and equitable compensation of employees across the organisation.
‘‘ It will pay employees with similar responsibilities, qualifications and experience fairly regardless of sex, religion, gender or any other forms of differentiation that are irrelevant to workplace. In this regard, pay equity is about workplace justice,” part of NPP reads.