In Botswana, workers formally have the right to form and join trade unions, with the exception of police officers, the Botswana Defence Force and the prison service.
Workers may not be fired for union-related activities.
The Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs has the legal power to interfere in union affairs.
Registration of trade unions, via the Registrar at the Ministry, is compulsory. The Trade Unions and Employers’ Organizations Act requires a minimum of one third of the employees of an employer to form a union, and the Labour Minister is empowered to determine the conditions for union membership.
Collective bargaining is allowed, provided the union represents at least 25% of the workforce.
According to the Trade Disputes Act, the right to strike is recognised, but workers must submit their demands to complex arbitration procedures (Comment: Through this process, virtually all strikes are ruled illegal, leaving striking workers at risk of dismissal. Sympathy strikes are prohibited. The Act does not protect workers’ organisations against acts of interference by employers and their organisations.)