Botswana Teachers’ Union (BTU) Secretary General Ibo Kenosi says their Executive Committee has resolved to propose unity with Botswana Sector of Educators Trade Unions (BOSETU) with the hope of liberating teachers who are drowning in debt due to dual membership between the two unions.
He said, because of dual membership, members tend to abuse competing products from both unions such as the Micro Lending Scheme which ends up getting them in more financial problems. To that end, he says they have written BOSETU a proposal letter on the issue, and will it further discuss with general members at their next extra ordinary congress:
“Most of this dual membership is between us (BTU) and BOSETU which means members have to pay membership to both unions with money that could be used for other things. So because of this we believe teachers are being over taxed. It therefore is our duty to come up with a solution that ought to relieve teachers from these challenges,” he said.
Kenosi says they have members who have a lot of cases of financial embarrassment who end up getting nothing from their salaries as all the money goes to cover debts. He however says these are issues that can be managed,“We have now proposed to BOSETU to say it is now time to come together to liberate teachers . We are not only ignited by this, because for the last two years we have cooperated loosely with BOSETU, whereby we bargained for teachers together as a collective voice… it is important to continue with this relationship,” he said, adding that, for the last five years Education International has also been pushing for this unity between all unions that represent teachers as they felt it is not good for teacher unions to be scattered in a developing country like Botswana.
“As the leadership we feel it is time to federate even though the issue is still yet to be evaluated by general membership, we are committed to this cause. Our consolidated number of teachers would make us the biggest and formidable union, not only in terms of membership but even in terms of economy… For us to have a consolidated financial muscle, we need to unite, combine our coffers and give a strong voice,” he said.
BOSETU Secretary General, Tobokani Rari acknowledged having received the proposal letter, which he said was a welcomed move even though he said they would have to meet with the central executive committee before releasing their official position: “We will also have to consult our members at the congress before we can go forward with this proposal because any major decision that we make has to come from them,” he said.