The two labour Trade Unions, Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) and Botswana Federation of Trade Unions (BFTU) are of the view that the State of Emergency (SoE) “have brought nothing less than misery”.
“Already, the two state of emergencies (SoEs) have brought nothing less than misery and have adversely affected both the social and economic activities of the nation”, the two Trade Unions indicated in their letter to His Excellency the President Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K Masisi.
The letter penned on the 24th March 2021 indicated that during the State of Emergency (SoE), jobs has been lost as employers are not making any head ways in as far as profits are concerned. With escalating numbers of unemployment among Batswana, the Trade Unions say socio-economic and observance of the rule of law are not guaranteed.
Further, the two Trade Unions cry the soured relations between employers and employees due to the regulations of SoE that prevent employers from retrenching or terminating contracts of employment. According to the two Trade Unions, this has been worsened by lack of specific regulations that promote industrial relations. The employees also are prohibited from resigning due to the SoE regulations.
As a result, the two Trade Unions are of the view that workplace illnesses such as anxiety, depression and mental health challenges are on the rise due to weak or no psycho-social therapy support. It is said that the employees are subjected to unpaid leaves when they go for quarantines and isolation. This according to BOFEPUSU and BFTU does not only affect livelihoods but is a risk to the fight against COVID-19.
Consequently, the two Trade Unions say they can only support the State of Emergency if the government can produce a detailed report of the previous SoEs and the intention of the proposed SoE. They said this mentioning the rising corruption cases linked to government tenders, and non-payment of owners of quarantine centres.