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BOPEU’s recruitment drive pay off – Marenga

Publishing Date : 22 May, 2017


The Secretary General of the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU), Topias Marenga has implored members of his unions to be vigilant against untruths being peddled against the union and its relationship with government.

He pointed out that despite the anti-BOPEU campaign, his union continues to attract hundreds of members from the rival Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU), whose secretary general Tobokani Rari has made it clear that “the two are very parallel”  in approach. “Our recruitment drive is paying off with multitudes of members joining our union,” he said.

According to Marenga, they as BOPEU are very careful not to mislead their members into believing that they are immune from the dictates of the Public Service Act. “We are encouraging our members to be very responsible employees. We will not be reckless and call on them to make party political statements, this is exactly part of the reasons why we divorced BOFEPUSU.”

The Secretary General is concerned that the partisan agenda has made trade unions to be enemies. He stressed that BOPEU will remain a non-partisan union whose main focus shall be the welfare of its members, and the large picture of fighting for the rights of workers in Botswana.  

The BOPEU secretary general said the union leadership is touring the country to address members following a spate of court cases which were necessitated by the dysfunctional status of the Public Service Bargaining Council and their disagreements with BOFEPUSU.
“We have over 36 000 members, you can imagine that they all want proper information in regard their conditions of service. Our intention is to follow them to their regions and tell them the truth. We have been to a number of places including Gaborone, Maun, Francistown, Palapye, Selibe Phikwe, Kanye, Tsabong, and many others,” he said.

Marenga said BOPEU members are happy with the way leadership is handling matters. He said they intend to continue their recruitment by harvesting the multitudes of frustrated BOFEPUSU members. Asked about the status of the PSBC following the decision by BOFEPUSU to withdraw, Marenga flatly refused to discuss BOFEPUSU matters, but rather chose a careful response: “we still have faith that the PSBC could be functional if all parties, that is the employer party and the union party respect one another.”  

He further said as BOPEU they are still convinced that the constitution of the PSBC must be amended to allow all unions to bargain. He admitted that the current threshold as stipulated in the constitution leaves out a lot of trade unions from the bargaining process, “which is unfair”.



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