1. Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) and Botswana Federation Trade Unions(BFTU) have noted with concern that, there is an ongoing debate in parliament regarding the Employment policy.
  2. We take cognizance of the fact that Botswana has ratified convention 144 on tripartite consultation which obliges it to engage with other stakeholders on matters appertaining to labour and employment issues. In this case it is to be noted that both BFTU and BOFEPUSU are the most critical of parties by virtue of the constituency they represent.
  3. This policy, which has direct implications on labour and employment in Botswana, is an obvious deliverable of the Decent Work Country Programme of which, government, BFTU and BOFEPUSU are signatories.
  4.  Moreover, the stewardship of this programme (the Decent Work Country Programme) falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Skills Development as the Ministry responsible for Labour Administration. We therefore find it mind boggling and certainly inappropriate for the Ministry of Finance to the one be tabling the bill as they are not the relevant Ministry responsible for labour administration in the Country.
  5. As far as we are concerned, there has not been any pertinent engagement at tripartite level over the policy that is now before parliament.
  6. This goes against the very tenets of effective social dialogue and tripartite framework which are spelt out in the Country ‘s Decent Work Country programme and labour laws.
  7. It is our considered view that any approach that has the effect of excluding the two labour federations carry the potential to sour relations between the social partners. In fact, it can only constitute an otherwise avoidable recipe for disharmony in industrial relations in the Country. 
  8. In view of the foregoing we call for the bill to be withdrawn from parliamentary debate and sent back to Ministry of Employment and Skills Development for further engagement by the social partners at relevant social dialogue structures. We have submitted letters to the Minsters of Labour Employment, Productivity and Skills Development, Finance and Economic Development as well as the National Assembly Clerk, Opposition caucus and BDP caucus chairpersons indicating our displeasure at the premature submission and discussion of the policy.
  9. We sincerely hope that sanity will prevail and allow authorities to defer the policy  under contention, treat it with the urgency it deserves as well as redirect it to the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Skills Development as the relevant authority for leading matters such as this one.

Issued by

Thusang Butale                                            Tobokani Rari

SG BFTU                                                     SG BOFEPUSU