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Tsogwane to mend relations with unions

Publishing Date : 09 April, 2018


The newly elected vice president, Slumber Tsogwane is looking forward to a good working relationship with Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) for a better Botswana.

The Boteti West legislature told this publication in an interview on Thursday that, “Measures are in place to continue to work hard and hear Batswana’s concerns and solve their problems in different sectors as they all contribute to growing of the economy,” Tsogwane said. “Trade unions should bring issues of workers and we tackle them. We want to work with them so that Batswana can come to appreciate challenges affecting government during difficult times,” he added.

While the vice president concedes that government’s relationship with trade unions deteriorated during the last general elections, he holds a strong view that, “But their support for political parties, specifically the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) during the 2014 general elections was against their mandate. Civil servants must be apolitical.”

He stated that the unions’ perception has always been that government was not taking their issues serious. “And government has always maintained that civil service is part of the government. If the government says there is no money-it’s genuine,” he pointed out. He said they have a committee at Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) which engages unions on regular bases and gives feedback and provides services.

Quizzed about the collapsed Bargaining council, the vice president said they have always made it known to the unions that they must seat on a round table and discuss issues. He said if the council ever collapses, the unions were the ones to be blamed, and not the government.

Tsogwane also told this publication that he never dreamt of being a vice president. All he wanted was to represent people in his rural village of Rakops. “I never had an ambition of becoming anything except a Member of Parliament for Boteti, yes, not even a ministerial position. It was not in my agenda.” If elected in the next general elections, Tsogwane said he will continue to serve the people of Boteti. “And I will serve government in any capacity the people and the president would have chosen me to serve.”

On his relationship with President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Tsogwane stated that he was a close friend with the Masisi family including his late brother Tshelang. He said he worked well with Masisi as he worked as his deputy under the ministry of Rural Development Council. “He is so committed to his work and wants people who discharge their assignments.”

On his part, BOFEPUSU Acting Secretary General, Mogomotsi Motshegwa said they were also more than ready to work with the government, as long as they were also ready to work with the unions. “Actions speak louder than words,” he said, adding that government should demonstrate by resuscitation of the Public Service Bargaining Council.

“It is our view they had a hand in the collapse of the council. The Bargaining council is dead as we speak. He said government should also implement recommendations of the International Labour Organizations (ILO), including among others to harmonize labour laws to match ILO standards.



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