Teach­ers call off strike

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

LO­CAL teach­ers have called off a planned na­tion­wide strike to protest gov­ern­ment’s ap­par­ent fail­ure to ad­dress their griev­ances, fol­low­ing a re­cent meet­ing they held with Education and Train­ing Min­is­ter, Mot­la­len­toa Let­sosa.

The teach­ers had threat­ened to dis­rupt the open­ing of schools this week on Mon­day de­mand­ing gov­ern­ment pays them for new qual­i­fi­ca­tions as well as per­for­mance con­tracts among other griev­ances.

In Oc­to­ber 2016, the min­istry an­nounced that it had amended the 2002 Teach­ing Ser­vice Reg­u­la­tions so that gov­ern­ment would not be obliged to pay teach­ers for new qual­i­fi­ca­tions ob­tained while they were al­ready on the Teach­ing Ser­vice De­part­ment (TSD).

The amend­ment was with ef­fect from 17 June, 2016.

This riled the teach­ers who threat­ened court ac­tion, ar­gu­ing that re­fus­ing to pay for new qual­i­fi­ca­tions was tan­ta­mount to fail­ing to ap­pre­ci­ate that education was an evolv­ing pro­fes­sion and that teach­ers needed to up­grade their qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

How­ever, Le­sotho As­so­ci­a­tion of Teach­ers (LAT) sec­re­tary gen­eral, Thaabe Kuleile this week told the Le­sotho Times that they de­cided to call off the strike af­ter hold­ing two “suc­cess­ful” meet­ings with Min­is­ter Let­sosa.

“Fol­low­ing two suc­cess­ful meet­ings with the Min­is­ter and his ad­dress at the Le­sotho School Prin­ci­pals’ As­so­ci­a­tion (LEPSA) Gen­eral Meet­ing on Satur­day, our mem­bers gave us a man­date to call off the strike and give the min­is­ter a chance to deal with our is­sues as he promised,” Mr Kuleile said.

“The min­is­ter con­ceded that whether the min­istry did not have money or not, they were still re­quired to pay salaries as per the signed per­for­mance con­tracts en­tered into by both par­ties. He promised that they would raise the funds to pay.

“We have a court case sched­uled for 17 Fe­bru­ary chal­leng­ing gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion not to pay the per­for­mance con­tract but we have de­cided that on the day, we will re­quest a post­pone­ment as a sign of good­will to give the min­is­ter a chance to de­liver on his prom­ises by end of March.”

He said the min­is­ter in­di­cated that there was lit­tle he could do about the Teach­ing Ser­vice Reg­u­la­tions amend­ment, as it was passed by par­lia­ment, mak­ing it bind­ing for the min­istry not to pay for new qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

He how­ever said the union would meet with the min­is­ter to re­view the Reg­u­la­tions as they needed an over­haul.

“Once this process has been done, the min­is­ter will take the re­viewed book­let to par­lia­ment for pre­sen­ta­tion and re­questquest that last year’s amend­ment bee re­pealed and that the re­views be passed as reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing the e teach­ing ser­vice in this coun­try,” he said.

“We trust that the minin­is­ter will make good onn his word come the end of March 2017,” Mr Kuleile said.

Ef­forts to get the min­is­ter’s com­ments were fruit­less as his phone was not reach­able.

Education and train­ing Min­is­ter Mot­la­len­toa Let­sosa

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