BancABC may have come to the rescue of teachers after competing commercial banks refused to neither grant them loans nor extend repayment periods of existing ones.
Teachers defaulted on their loan repayments with the commercial banks during the nationwide strike action when the government employed the “no work no pay” principle.
The Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) claims it has sealed a deal for all teachers in Botswana to access loans with the BancABC to mitigate the ripple effects of the strike action ÔÇô a claim which has not been confirmed or denied by the bank.
“I am unable to confirm or deny that we have had discussions with BOSETU. The reality is that we are in business and have a number of clientele. There is an element of confidentiality. I am constrained to comment for that reason,” said the bank’s Country Marketing Officer, Sebaga Manyeula.
BOSETU Executive Secretary, Justin Hunyepa, maintains such an agreement with the bank is in place. In fact, the unionist encourages the membership to line up at BancABC to open accounts and dump rival banks that shunned its members.
“BOSETU’s move in this deal is meant to improve the welfare of its members. The only requirement for accessing the loan is membership to BOSETU, which can be processed within a day. Primary and Secondary school teachers as well as Tertiary lecturers are welcome to access the facility and use it to offset the effects of the strike and for other personal effects if one was not on strike,” says Hunyepa.
B0SETU claims it hatched the deal after a number of local banks treated the teachers, who had participated in the suspended public sector strike, with disdain and contempt.
“BOSETU had communicated through a formal letter with most of the local banks just after the government implemented the ill advised No Work No Pay principle. The banks were requested not to penalise the teachers for loan default as this was a temporary set off and that teachers have been loyal to them all along. The banks, however, responded by ridiculing and embarrassing our members and even slapped them with huge interests,” he says.
BOSETU alleges that appeals to banks to extend loan repayments fell on deaf ears as the banks “mercilessly and gleefully recovered their loans”.
BOSETU says it exists to improve the working and living conditions of its members, having also engaged Botswana Examination Council (BEC) on teachers’ welfare when doing BEC work.
According to Hunyepa, BOSETU has previously told the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), prior to the 2009 general elections, that if the electoral body engages teachers, the union will be all the more ready to protect the interests of its members to avoid cheap labour.
The same went for 2011 Population and Housing Census under the Central Statistics Office.
BOSETU will also use its numbers to get the best deals for its members and will further influence its members to terminate relationships with any organization that undermines their integrity.