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‘Civil servants salaries will go up’

Publishing Date : 27 February, 2018

Author : KETUMILE RAMATITI

Incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi looks set to sweep unions under their feet. Government’s decision to engage Malaysian company, Performance Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) Associates to review the public service remuneration and performance systems, is expected to be the basis for a long overdue increment for government workers.


BOFEPUSU family of trade unions recently confirmed that on 14th February 2018 met the Employer (DPSM) on over the issue of salaries. At the meeting, DPSM proposed a salary increment to the Public servants pending the outcome of reports of consultants engaged by the two parties. “The Union party submitted that it accepts the principle of salary increase, but that should not prejudice their labour rights as per their Collective labour agreements. The house did not finish its business and the next meeting is scheduled for 20th February 2018. We remain hopeful that such a meeting will bear desirable fruits,” Mogomotsi Motshegwa, BOFEPUSU Acting Secretary General.


According to the Directorate of Public Servants Management (DPSM), the company has been contracted with special focus on the remunerations which have gone unchanged for some time now. Trade unions have been at war with government over public servants salaries for a long time now. Just recently, the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC) collapsed owing to incongruities between government and trade unions. The contracted company will also review government’s Performance Management System (PMS) tools.


“The consultancy was initiated on the basis of the need to establish a proper remuneration system that will guide future reviews of salaries. This was necessitated by calls from employees to relook at the current salaries, which are believed to be low relative to market rates,” DPSM director Ruth Maphorisa said.


The expectation from DPSM is that the ongoing exercise will establish a remuneration system for Botswana that will set parameters for salary structure and the basis reviews in relation to the budget. The study will further link remuneration to performance management and the reward system. It is also to address issues relating to allowances which have been a source of litigation.


According to Maphorisa, the consultancy will run for 52 weeks and it commenced on the 1st December 2017. The consultancy has been awarded at the cost of USD (1,677,390) inclusive of withholding tax of USD 218, 790. However, sources are of the view that the consultancy might propose recommendations that border on altering of conditions of service. “Government should bear in mind that some of the issues that the consultancy might propose on its recommendations might border on altering of the current conditions of service,” a source said before adding, “The same conditions of service for employees however fall squarely with negotiable matters and as such government will have to negotiate with unions on the recommendations of the consultancy.”


Trade unions on the other hand say they were not engaged on the decision but rather informed that the consultancy had begun in December. “We were only informed about this development in December by government,” Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) Secretary General Tobokani Rari said.


Meanwhile BOFEPUSU, insisted on being part of the evaluation meeting of the consultancy’s research, and are also carrying out a parallel exercise to compare it with PEMANDU’s. “The federation has since engaged Tsa Badiri Consultancy to carry out a review of the same with a view to table the report to DPSM that we would use to bargain in view of them engaging their company,” Rari said.


Quizzed on whether the union does not trust the Malay company, Rari said: “It is not that we don’t trust them, we cannot cast aspersions on them. We don’t know whether they will do a good job or not, but our reasons for engaging Tsa Badiri is that we are definitely of the conviction that issues subjected to a consultancy by DPSM are issues within the realms of bargaining and negotiations.” The union believes that it will need to have an informed position on them to engage DPSM when the consultancy is completed. The two reports are expected to be done before April with government and unions expected to start negotiating employees’ conditions using the recommendations by the two consultants.


WHY DPSM ENGAGED PEMANDU?

The relationship between DPSM with PEMANDU has grown out of bilateral cooperation with the government of Malaysia for South-South development. The company according to reports has previously assisted DPSM in coming up with the delivery unit for Vision 2036 and National Development Plan.


PEMANDU Associates is a consultancy firm established by PEMANDU; a Malaysian government unit that was established under the Prime Minister’s department in 2009. It has since been disestablished. PEMANDU's main role and objective was to oversee the implementation, assess the progress, facilitate as well as support the delivery and drive the progress of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). It is touted for its success in transforming the Malaysian economy, and their work, and in particular their Big Fast Result methodology in providing solutions on transforming government in other countries is well documented.

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