Botswana Secondary School Teachers' Union (BOSETU) and Botswana Teachers' Union (BTU) defended the action yesterday by saying that the roles of the two federations are dissimilar. BOSETU secretary general, Kwenasebele Modukanele said there is nothing wrong with an affiliate of the BFTU belonging to another federation. This is because the BFTU constitution does not prevent affiliates from joining other federations.
BTU secretary general, Ibo Kenosi said that; "BOFEPUSO is a public sectoral federation while BFTU is a national federation that covers both private and public sectors. "So there is no conflict of interest here. We are working together with BTU and other unions, some of whom are in BOFEPUSO to create a bargaining council to bargain with government," he said.
BOFEPUSO and BFTU have been in a stand-off for sometime with indications that BOSETU and BTU are willing to abandon BFTU. Recently, BOSETU and BTU stopped paying subscriptions to BFTU. The two are the biggest financial contributors to BFTU.
The BTU will have a special congress next month where Kenosi said they would discuss the state of their relationship with BFTU. "Whatever mandate we get from the congress, we will fulfill. But you should know that our main gripe with BFTU is with regard to the audited report which has not yet come out and the system of representation within the BFTU," he said.
BFTU president, Allan Keitsing has said that their constitution allows for affiliates to join other federations. "But if an affiliate is a member of a federation and one time that federation turns around and insults us (BFTU) then we will use the constitution to punish our affiliate who is a member of that federation," he explained.
The union leader pointed out that there was no need for BOSETU, BTU or any of their affiliates who are public sector unions to join BOFEPUSO as the BFTU has an arrangement for creating a platform for bargaining with government. "The very one that is similar to BOFEPUSO's," he said.