« 100 YEARS – 100 LIVES » | BOTSWANA - “ILO action has led to a complete review of labour laws in Botswana”

Botswana has started a complete review of its labour laws to make them compatible with international labour standards.

Feature | Botswana | 04 September 2019
GABORONE - When complaints are received by the ILO against countries for non-respect of a convention, they are requested to provide information on the implementation of the convention to a tripartite committee called the “Committee on the Application of Standards”. This happened to the Republic of Botswana regarding application of ILO Convention No 87 during the 106th and 107th sessions of the International Labour Conference. Botswana had ratified convention No 87 in 1997.

This led Botswana to start the process of reviewing its labour laws in order to harmonize them and align them with the international labour standards.

“The intention of the labour law review is to bring provisions of the laws in conformity with the ILO conventions ratified by Botswana, to incorporate the various decisions of the Courts to facilitate doing business and to close the gaps in the Acts emanating from developments in the labour administration system,” said Joni T. Musabayana, Director of the ILO Decent Work Team for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Through the Labour law review, the Government aims to facilitate employment, provide industry-focused skills, promote workplace health and safety, enhance productivity and work ethic and to manage industrial relations in an inclusive manner.

The Government - in collaboration with the employers’ and workers’ organisations - established a tripartite Labour Law Review Committee to spearhead the process of labour law review.

Consultations between the Government and the representatives of employers and workers on the process to review labour laws started in July 2017. They were still ongoing in June 2019.

The labour law review process covers the Employment Act, Trade Unions and Employers’ Organisations Act, Public Service Act, No.30 of 2008 and Trade Disputes Act, No.6 of 2016.

The Government and social partners developed individual position papers on all the pieces of legislations mentioned above. These position papers were then consolidated into an “Issues Paper” with technical assistance from the ILO.

The “Issues Paper” takes into account recent court judgements in the country, comparative best practices in the region, and comments by the ILO supervisory bodies on Botswana, and ratified ILO Conventions.

Based on the Issues Paper and the consultations by the tripartite labour law review committee, the drafting of the Bills of the labour law legislations is now at an advanced stage.

“It is hoped that before the end of 2019 Botswana will have up-to-date labour laws legislations which are in accordance with international labour standards. We were pleased to accompany this process,” concluded Mr Musabayana.

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