ILO likely to list Botswana a ‘rogue state’

16th May 2017
ILO Headquarters Source:The Midweek Sun


By Kemoreilwe Jimson - Reporter

Botswana has been summoned to appear before the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) next month to explain her oppressive actions on labour laws.

Botswana is among the last 40 countries earmarked to appear before CAS. The last list which will include 25 countries before CAS meeting in Geneva Switzerland will be released soon.  

Secretary General of Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU), Gadzani Mhotsha said they are hoping that the country will make it to top 25 list before the meeting.

The listing of Botswana comes after it violated Convention 87 of the ILO by enacting the controversial Trade Dispute Act that banned the right to strike to many workers among them diamond sorting and cutting, teachers, immigration and customs services.

Following this violation BFTU filed a report with Committee of Experts on Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) in September 2016.
“Our report was considered by the CEACR in November 2016 and is captured by the 2016 CEARC Report,” said Mhotsha.

In March 2017 BFTU was among the African Trade Unions who gathered in Grand Bassam, Cote dVoire to discuss the short-listing of African countries to appear before the CAS during the 2017 ILO.

“We successfully managed to have Botswana listed among the top countries in Africa.
 It is this ranking that has influenced the social partners in the ILO supervisory system to agree to have Botswana listed among the top 40 rogue states.
“The list of 40 is a preliminary list which will have to be trimmed down to 25 by the CAS,” he said adding that only the last 25 countries will have to appear before the CAS.

“BFTU believes it has a very strong case against the Botswana Government and we are positive that Botswana will make the last 25,” said Mhotsha. Convention 87 which Botswana has contravened is on the fundamental rights of workers on the freedom to associate and the right to organise.
This includes their right to organise their administration and activities.

The new TDA has banned workers from taking part in strike action in furtherance of their collective bargaining efforts, thus taking away a fundamental right.
“We are grateful to those who have worked with us and continue to do so especially our colleagues from Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) and the support we have been getting from international organisations such as Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council (SATUCC), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the ILO’s Decent Work Team and other sister federations in the region. We look forward to this continued support and assistance even during the ILC in June 2017,” said Mhotsha.

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