Young BNF firebrand dismisses Trade Dispute Act
The President of Botswana National Front Youth League (BNFYL), Khumoekae Richard has described the Trade Dispute Act as a “dangerous law”. Recently members of Parliament debated a Bill in which teachers and other cadres were classified as Essential Services.
Addressing delegates at the just-ended elective congress of Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) over the weekend, Richard said the intentions of the Bill are evil and the regime wants to take away teachers’ rights to strike. He said the Trade Dispute Act will bring perilous and hazardous effects and that it spells doom for the youth in general. “I am submitting that it will act as transition line between youth unemployment and poverty. The government is both directly and indirectly sabotaging the very same young children she purports to shield,” noted Richard.
He said when the teachers’ morale is at its lowest ebb, results will reach all time low and those efforts of educating young people will be in vain. “Essential Service classification opposes and defeats the existence of a democratic participative education system. All these efforts will be in vain,” added Richard. He said this move by the government is meant to reduce trade union members.
“This would weaken the humongous strength of public trade unions as it robs them of their valuable membership. Trade unions depend on these government employees as a secret bargaining tool. An angry teacher can’t produce results” he said. When officially opening the congress, President of BTU, Johannes Tshukudu said teaching does not meet the International Labour Organisation standard definition of instruments that categorised it as essential service.
“There are some suggestions from some in the Ministry of Education and government who strongly feel that teachers must have their own Act. We as teacher trade unions are opposed to such thinking,” he said, adding that they rather propose for separate regulations for teachers different from other public servants derived from the same public service Act of 2008 No. 30. “Teachers have been long robbed and we can no longer reverse to Egypt again. We have crossed the Red Sea and we are moving forward,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tshukudu and his camp emerged victorious after taking all positions on offer. Tshukudu was standing against his former deputy, Kenathata Dipogiso who lost with votes of 122 against Tshukudu’s 390. The former Secretary General Gotlaamang Oitsile is now the deputy. The elective congress was held under the theme, “Organising and Empowering Education Workers: A must for the Reconstruction of Botswana Public Quality Education Crisis.”