Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Botswana Civil Service Strike June 1st

Yes the strike is still on. Essential services workers (including nurses, doctors) were ordered to go back to work, they didn't and they've been fired, about 1500 of them. Schools re-opened yesterday and temporary teachers have been brought in, from where I don't know since now none of my children are in school, one is at university one waiting to hear about university. Also the government is taking a "no work- no pay" attitude so the striking civil servants received no pay this month. This is having a ripple effect through the entire country since most civil servants support many other people on their pay cheque. Businesses are suffering as well.

The unions dropped their demands from a 16% wage increase to 3% with the condition that workers be paid during the strike and essential workers that have been fired be re-hired. The government said no.

Meanwhile President Khama has sent his cabinet members out to the kgotlas around the country to try and get the government's position regarding the strike to the people. In most instances the ministers have met with near empty kgotlas or have been heckled. In Mahalapye yesterday Vice President Merafhe attempted to speak and people got up and left.

Today in Mogoditshane a similar thing happened. The workers then marched from there to Gaborone to the Civic Centre. As I write this (it is almost 7 pm) there are rumours that the workers are considering marching to State House. They've built a bonfire at the Princess Marina Circle, it's very cold tonight.

Despite propaganda being issued from the government the strike is weakening, it is getting stronger and because of the President's obstinacy and refusal to discuss the issue with the unions ( a position contrary to the Setswana culture of consultation) many are calling for him to resign. Opposition parties are capitalising on the situation. And still the government digs its heels in.

5 comments: said...

It is truly amazing to me how transparent some of our leaders in AFrica have become with their decision to disregard the opinion and feelings of the people that put them in power.

But I think they count on the fact that we have such short memories and will soon forget them firing 1500 workers!!!

I hope Botswana remembers!

Sue Guiney said...

It's sounding like it's getting pretty scary out there. I know you'll keep us posted.

Lauri said...

All of this is so unlike Botswana. Apparently rubber bullets were fired yesterday at the GSS ground in Gabs and some people were injured. I'm waiting for pepers to arrive in Mahalapye to get the news.

Qalil- I wonder if it is only Africa where leaders don't take the people's opinions into consideration. But yes I agree Batswana have very short memories, we often just want to forget and go on with things. I hope that won't be the cae this time. The elections are in 2014, a long time away.

Kelefe said...

I think SADC should intervene now before things get out of hand

Anonymous said...

its interesting how the leaders are trying to hide the strike from the nation. you can never hear anything about the srike on radio and on television. just yesterday rubber bullets were all over the place in kanye, the police were chasing the students from the senior school and junior schools all over, to the extend that they brought a helicopter.