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Private teachers’ minimum wage approved

Sept. 13, 2019 2 min read

LERIBE – The Ministry of Labour and Employment has finally agreed to set a minimum wage for private teachers at high school level.

This was revealed on Monday during a meeting between the teachers and their unions’ leaders at Hlotse High School in Leribe. The move applauded by the protesting teachers stipulated that a diploma holder must earn a monthly minimum salary of M4 300 while a degree holder should be paid M4,800 starting in the next financial year.

“This is just one of many agreements we have reached with the government of Lesotho which answers to a list of our grievances. However, what an employer decides to pay out above the minimum wage is at his or her own discretion,” explained unions’ representative Thaabe Kuleile.

For teachers without qualifications, Mr Kuleile showed that it was agreed that they should further their studies starting this year and the next, given they are already listed in the employment data, according to the agreement.

He further told the gathered multitudes of teachers that the Teachers Service Department (TSD) had availed 803 granted vacancies for teachers and further 57 office positions at the department so to speed up service delivery.

Nevertheless, teachers expressed mixed feelings with some being unwavering that they should continue with the strike until all their grievances had been addressed. But others observed the government’s timeframe of October, as reasonable. Mr Kuleile said after October they would be in a better position to know whether or not they continued with the strike. He therefore urged fellow teachers to return to work.

“We have given the government a reasonable time to address our demands, but it ignored us because it is led by selfish people. “Instead of responding to our needs, it threatens not to pay the rightfully striking teachers, I say the strike should stay,” protested one of the teachers, fuming, who also accused their union leaders of siding with the government.

The managing director of Development for Peace Education (DPE) Mr Sofonea Shale has encouraged teachers to work as one entity with their union leaders. The DPE is a non-governmental organisation that is facilitating in negotiations between the government and the teachers’ unions.

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“As the mediating body, we shall task ourselves to convince the government to get rid of the letter of ‘No work No pay’ because it is against the teachers’ freedom to object,” Mr Shale said.

Teachers embarked on a nationwide mass action earlier last month, accusing the government of failing to comply with the agreement both parties signed earlier this year. However, the government was adamant that despite delays in certain issues, the teachers’ grievances were being attended to.

Three teachers’ unions – the Lesotho Teachers Association (LTA), Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU) and Lesotho Schools Principals Association (LSPA) are pressing the government to grant them salary increments and review their working conditions among other grievances.

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