Power struggle threatens union

Daniel Chida
BOTUPS PRESIDENT : Gotlamang Oitsile

BTU & BOTUBS Clash over New Insurance Plan

The formation of the Botswana Teachers Union Burial Society (BOTUBS) by the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU) seemed like a sound decision initially.

BOTUBS, meant to handle burials for union members, had promised to provide much-needed support during difficult times of funerals.

However, this once-promising initiative has now become the centre of a bitter conflict that threatens to divide the union.

For months, BTU had been quietly crafting a new initiative to enhance the financial security of its members.

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This initiative, Group Life Assurance (GLA), was an extension of their existing funeral cover.

Unlike traditional funeral policies, GLA would provide benefits not only upon death but also during the lifetime of its members.

This comprehensive coverage, managed by their insurance wing CiB, was set to revolutionize member benefits.

However, things took a dramatic turn when BOTUBS allegedly stole BTU’s idea and introduced it to their members.

According to sources, BTU tried multiple times to assert that BOTUBS’ mandate was strictly limited to handling burials while insurance matters were to be managed by BTU through CiB.

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Despite these attempts, BOTUBS remained defiant and even threatened legal action if forced to comply.

“BTU told BOTUBS that its mandate is to handle burials only while BTU through CiB will handle insurances, but they have refused to back down and even threatened to challenge the decision in court if they are forced to,” said a source.

The situation escalated further when BOTUBS accused BTU of trying to sabotage their initiative.

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In a communication obtained by the publication, BOTUBS expressed their frustration.

“We have discovered that BTU had already been making strides to implement a similar product. This decision by BTU to introduce a parallel Group Life Insurance product caught us off guard, threatening to overshadow our initiative and create confusion among the members,” the communication read.

According to the communication sent to stakeholders, starting August 1, 2024, members would be automatically enrolled in BTU’s Group Life Insurance, incurring an additional charge of P95 unless they opted out by June 30, 2024.

This new cover, managed by Chartered Insurance Brokers under More Power Investment, BTU’s business wing, with Bona Life as the underwriter, further complicated the matter as both entities had previously parted ways with BOTUBS.

Feeling threatened, BOTUBS made an urgent appeal to their members, urging them to opt out of BTU’s Group Life Insurance until the matter was resolved.

They argued that BTU’s implementation of GLA was premature and an infringement on their mandate to manage burial and related policies.

BOTUBS Secretary, Thapelo Ookame, confirmed the issue but refused to delve into details.

“This is an internal matter that we are aware of and cannot comment on it because we are still trying to resolve it internally,” he stated.

Meanwhile, BTU pressed ahead with their plans, confident in the strategic advantages their new insurance product would bring.

BTU Secretary General, Agang Gabana, was actively rallying members to beat the registration deadline.

However, both he and the BTU President were overseas and could not be reached for comments.

As the June 30th opt-out deadline looms, the tension within the union has reached a fever pitch.

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Members are caught in the crossfire of a battle that was supposed to secure their future but now threatens to tear their union apart.

The coming weeks will be crucial in determining whether BTU and BOTUBS can reconcile their differences or if this internal strife will leave a lasting impact on the union’s unity and effectiveness.

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