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ILES, BFTU partner to strengthen labour movement

Publishing Date : 10 June, 2019

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Institute of Labour Employment Studies (ILES) Executive Director, Shandukani Hlabano has expressed optimism that the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) would strengthen labour movement in Botswana.

ILES, wholly owned by BOPEU, was established with a specific mandate of training members of BOPEU on labour issues, but the scope was expanded to all workers of Botswana after the institution was accredited. “This relationship benefits all of us. The mandate of BFTU is to build a strong and independent labour movement that would enhance promotion of democracy, social dialogue and sustainable development,” said Hlabano.

“The mandate of the ILES on the other hand is to empower the working population of Botswana with relevant education, training and research on labour and employment studies. Somewhat our mandate complements each other.” Hlabano said ILES is recognised by the International Labour Training Centre (a training institution of International Labour Organisation) in Turin, noting that the organisation facilitated for a partnership between ILES and BFTU.

BFTU, which is recognised as labour centre in Botswana by the ILO, will also partner with ILES in training of programmes sponsored ILO. The partnership will also see the two institution working together in conducting researching relating to emergent labour and employment issues. Hlabano said ILES has research unit and human capital to help BTFU in conducting researches, highlighting that though researches are expensive, the latter has the advantage of sourcing funding from international donors such as the ILO, which BFTU is affiliated to.

“We will issue certificates to BFTU members who train with us because we are an accredited institution. This forms part of the agreement,” said Hlabano. “BFTU also undertakes to participate in joint community projects to deliberate on workers participatory democracy which entails, effective workers participation in initiatives that promotes workers’ rights.”

Hlabano said even though the MoU is between ILES and BFTU, it does not mean workers do not fall under the ambit of BFTU will be excluded. He said all union workers are given the opportunity to study and enrol at the institution. The ILES is open to all workers of Botswana and offers short courses which Hlabano refers to as giving workers the “soft skills” necessary in a job place for anyone to succeed. He said, these soft skills includes, among others “managing conflicts in workplace”.

“These are the skills that they do not teach at university. So we give them these skills,” said Hlabano. Currently the institution is offering short-term course it has since applied to Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA) for accreditation in long-term programmes such as Diploma in Labour Law and Certificate in Para-Legal Studies.

Hlabona stated that ILES as an institution also have a public education unit, which has the mandate of educating the public on matters on national interest. He noted the recent controversially lifting of hunting ban as such issues where ILES may come on board to help the public to understand what are the real issues in the matter.



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