A workshop was convened in Botswana to address the issue of developing Bipartite Business Agenda for policy advocacy. The workshop was convened as pat of the ongoing efforts to make Botswana a model country with a successful business and work environment.
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Matters of particular interest were the really challenging issues of employment creation and the need to strengthen existing structures of tripatism and social dialogue. The main objectives were: employment creation, tripartism and social dialogue, DWCP, and the creation of a good business agenda.
Several issues were highlighted during the workshop. Some of the most outstanding include: the plight of workers in regard to health, safety, lack of proper skills and commitment policy issues; dispute resolution mechanisms; productivity; social welfare of workers with different needs.
Other areas included the need to mobilize resources; the influence of policy and its localisation; and other challenges such as negative contribution of government requirements, environment and climate change. The solutions to the above issues were broadly discussed and suggested for implementation.
As part of the ongoing efforts to make Botswana a model country in the implementation of up o date employment policies, a workshop was dubbed developing bipartite business agenda for policy advocacy was convened to address the issues faced by workers in Botswana.
Of particular interest were the really challenging issues of employment creation and the need to strengthen existing structures of tripatism and social dialogue. The workshop was mainly focused on improving the business environment of Botswana and included a tutorial on how a successful business agenda can be developed, implemented and sustained.
Objectives of the Workshop
The following were the main issues that were discussed at the workshop. This represented both the BFTU key issues and issues of common interest.
- Employment creation – to identify ways through which partial implementation of training localisation program and monitoring can be achieved.
- Tripatism and social dialogue- To identify how existing structures such as LAB can be strengthened to make decisions that are binding. For instance, through legislation.
- DWCP: This should be agreed upon by government labour and BOCCIM so that it can result into the overall improvement of Botswana’s economy.
- Imparting of business skills to the public through tutorials on basic concepts of business creation and sustenance.
the following issues were highlighted. The plight of workers in Botswana was the first stop. The outstanding concerns in regard to this included: issues of occupational health of workers and their safety; commitment at places of work; and inadequacy of the policy and legislative framework.
The issue of freedom of association was also highlighted, particularly in regard to the need for a one third threshold of all the workers and the relaxation of organizational rights.
Dispute resolution was also addressed at the meting. Areas of interest included focus on the existing dispute act, establishment of independent bodies such as the CCMA, CMAC and the DDPR.
The overall productivity of the workforce was addressed. The main concerns were: the issue of poorly trained workforce; and mismatch of skills and jobs.
To address the above identified issues, specific areas were pinpointed and improvements and other solutions discussed. In regard to the tripartite structure, the effectiveness of the LAB was questioned. It was agreed that may be a higher level structure should be put in place to deal with labour and economic issues.
The structure should be modelled on the NEDLAC structure. It was agreed that strategies should be formulated to ensure a highly efficient tripartite structure is in place, PITSOs should be spearheaded by business and trade unions.
Structures should be in place to ensure that workers and business share the gains of productivity to ensure a motivated workforce. OSH was discussed by BOCCIM in regard to the education and training of workers, the need for employers and employees to work together, enforcement of policies by unions. Issues of capacity building with the
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Labour ministry to ensure that employees are informed of the rights and the compliance of both businesses and workers were discussed. The initial session of the workshop ended with a discussion on social security, ie, ensuring that there is sustainable pension on retirement and agreeing on retirement age.
Issues of common interest
The issues of common interest discussed, included the unending problem of HIV/AIDS. It was agreed that bipartite should be able to monitor and implement the HIV/AIDS policy at the workplace. An ideal tripartite structure was thus to be agreed upon.
The productivity of the workers was seen as a major issue, particularly in regard to the lack of skills and poor attitude of the local workers. The need for a proper productivity agenda in Botswana was raised, on which the productivity visions should be benchmarked. It was suggested that the Government should strengthen the BNPC, s mandate as driver for productivity.
The current procedures that are advanced in dispute resolution were also put to question. They were found to be time consuming and too costly for businesses. Thus it was agreed that an independent structure should be put in place to handle issues, with well resourced personnel to focus on the matters. The need for research was also emphasized due to the fact that research forms the main cornerstones of issue resolution.
Other areas of common interest included the matter of resource mobilization, policy influence and localisation and the negative contribution of levies on industry. It was established that the government had introduced taxes and levies that could be seen as unfavourable. Among other areas of action, it was agreed that the government should stop processing the annual licences and offer the long-term ones.
Other trade challenges were discussed: the dumping of substandard goods was highlighted and it was agreed that the government should extend BOBS to imported goods. The threats post by environment and climate change were discussed and some mitigation measures agreed. For instance the government was to spearhead the creation of jobs that are environmentally friendly.
The session on issue of common interest ended by highlighting the corruption problem and it was agreed that bipartite should address the corruption problem.
A tentative procedure for creating a successful business agenda in Botswana was also availed to those in attendance. The process mainly dwelt on the seven steps of assessment of the policies; setting the priorities; making proposals; involving members with mandate; strategising for production; selling of products; and monitoring the performance.
Conclusion Recommendations of employment creation, and tripatism and social dialogue
The workshop was very successful in the sense that it facilitated the highlighting of a wide scope of challenges facing employees, organisations and regulatory mechanisms in Botswana. It gave the overall situation of the basic components of the countries economy.
The identification of the issues was accompanied by discussions on how best the issue could be resolved. Issues such as weak legislation, unskilled labour and working conditions were broadly discussed.
It’s thus important that those who are privileged to be in positions where these matters can be taken up and implemented, should formulate proper working models that will oversee the transition of Botswana’s economy through effective identification of solutions to the problems discussed in the workshop.