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Ministry steps up while teachers plan strike

Jan. 31, 2019 3 min read

3 min read

A consultancy that is going to deal with review of structures within the public sector which include teaching service has been officially announced by principal secretary for public service, Khahliso Lesenya recently. Addressing the media in Maseru last week Wednesday, Lesenya said the coalition government has directed that the public service through Public Sector Modernisation Project should kick start restructuring of the public sector, which would also deal teachers’ salary and career structures as national priorities. AH Consultancy, a company from Uganda, which would include local expertise, “will also help Lesotho find sustainable solution to teachers' grievances regarding their salary and help manage the wage bill of civil servants as a whole.”

Principal secretary for education, Tieho Mamasiane, said the government was fully committed to ensuring quality service delivery hence the review of structure is of paramount importance and include all teachers irrespective of their different unions. The move has been embraced by Thokoane Matete, executive secretary for Lesotho Union of Teachers (LUT) saying “career and salary structure review are important since they are the root causes of all current problems regarding teachers.” Matate called upon all teachers' unions to fully support the exercise which he hoped will bring about positive change in the teaching service.

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Present at the media briefing was LUT and Progressive Association of Lesotho Teachers (PALT). The industrial dispute over a hail of grievances by teachers, which include salary increase and working conditions since 1997, was heightened last year and dominated the public domain as teachers mounted s series of protests. In a separate interview, chairman of Maseru branch Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) Letsatsi Ntsibulane informed Metro that teachers were still scheming out the possibility of another national strike.

“We will debate on the rules of strike and possibly go for the ballot where number of votes for and against will be considered. This is after the DDPR (Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution) overlooked our concerns,” he said. He said the DDPR meeting did not come up with any settlement going forward, as such the directorate will guide teachers on rules, regulations and laws to guide teachers strike. Ntsibulane, one of the ring leaders of teachers’ protests, recently received show cause letter dated January 18, from Teaching Commission asking him why he cannot be dismissed from teaching service on grounds that on November 15, 2018, he announced teachers strike, he absented himself from duty on the days of illegal strikes and he illegally engaged on different occasions and caused one Palesa Mapesa, Nthati Maboee and Teboho Pheane to stand in and perform his duties while he was absent from school. 

The letter further reads that Ntsibulane will be dismissed from Teaching Service in accordance with section 19(4) of the Education Act No 3 of 2010. Ntsibulane was then instructed to respond to cause why letter within 7 days after receiving the letter just before he could be dismissed from Teaching Service. But Ntsibulane hit back at the TSC through his legal representative, Advocate Phororo of Sekonyela Chambers that “we wish to advise your good office that all allegations contained in your letter are unfounded (but only) meant to harass our client, as no proof is provided thereof. They are therefore vehemently denied.”

Apart from threats by teachers that by the time schools reopen on January 21 they would have engaged in another strike, the strike did not take place and Ntsibulane said “for now it is work as usual.”

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