Maun East Member of Parliament, Goretetse Kekgonegile says time has come for workers to embrace unionism to effectively deal with conditions of service, adding that a fragmented approach would be futile.
Speaking during Labour Day Commemoration in Maun on Monday, Kekgonegile also challenged labour unions to be united for the betterment of their clients who are suffering while they continue to fight each other.
He recalled the 2011 public sector strike where some civil servants did not take part, something which the former trade unionist said showed the weakness of the worker’s struggle in the country.
“The strike was not effective because some of the workers failed to honor the demonstration. A fight together makes your voice to be heard across all the spheres of the employer therefore I challenge you to make introspection as a tool to move yourselves forward,” Kekgonegile advised.
He also encouraged workers to avoid joining many unions arguing that it impoverishes them further because of the subscription they pay in those respective unions. He noted that some of the workers, especially government employees are now living in poverty because of many subscriptions and other schemes they have joined.
Meanwhile Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) Regional Organiser James Madubula lamented that the country has all the resources that can solve the challenges workers are faced with, but the problem is that those who are in power are not willing to do so.
Madubula is of the view that the problem, as it is often said, is that those who have power are not hungry, while those who are hungry do not have the power, adding that workers need to acquire power to effect the change consistent with their aspirations.
Madubula added that there is a correlation between democratic deficit and economic disempowerment noting that research has consistently established that in countries where worker’s rights are absent, limited or denied the more the state is economically disempowered.
The regional orgainser commended the workers for working hard under the challenging circumstances to make Botswana prosper.
According to him, over the last few years the cost of living has risen while wages remained stagnated against soaring inflation amidst rising unemployment, especially among the young people. He suggested that this triple burden of poverty, inequality and unemployment needs to be confronted head on and defeated.
Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) commemorated the day under the theme ‘Demanding Workers’ Rights and Economic Power.’