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Feb. 15, 2022

OWN CORRESPONDENT

3 min read

Teachers strike looming

Teachers strike looming

Spokesperson of Lesotho teachers unions, Letsatsi Ntsibolane

Story highlights

  • Outstanding issues include the salary structure, which was supposed to have been implemented
  • Teachers had threatened to go to court if their demands were not met

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MARCH will soon be here and school teachers have promised to go on strike if the government fails to keep its part of the bargain on the two parties’ 2019 agreement that suspended the deadlock up to now.

'Mamoholana Folene, the secretary general of the Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU) said they were giving a month's notice until their grievances were addressed by government, failing which the strike will resume early next month.
She said they had an agreement to suspend the 2018/19 industrial action after the Government through a Cabinet sub-committee negotiated for a breather to address the teachers’ grievances.

“To date they have not been attended to,” Mrs Folene said.

Among their outstanding issues is the salary structure, which was supposed to have been implemented in three phases.

“But only one phase was done,” said Mrs Folene. “The other two phases still remain as well as the arrears which have not been paid at all.”
The agreement, she said had stipulated that if the Government failed to live up to its promises, the teachers would go to court or on strike but emphasised that the strike was on the cards.

On November 29, 2021 the teachers’ representatives met officials from the Ministry of Education and Training. Following a written communication to the Cabinet’s sub-committee, Mrs Folene said no response had been forthcoming despite the feedback that the issues were being attended to.

“But there is no money to pay the arrears and it is a known fact that the Government does not have money,” she also said.

“This is very unfair and teachers are taken for granted by the Government. Since 2019, we have been waiting for them to attend to our grievances but nothing has been done. Yet, when Members of Parliament requested a M5 000 increase, it was presented to them without hesitation.”
Letsatsi Ntsibolane, the spokesperson of the Lesotho teachers unions, for his part said among the demands which were set to be addressed by the end of April 2019, only re-distribution of Grade 8 textbooks and top-ups for other grades had been implemented.  

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“Only 80 percent of the job has been done,” he said. “Other issues including verification, vetting and budget allocation of all the teachers affected, as well as information dissemination on the implementation of the new curriculum through radio programmes, have not been addressed as per the April 30, 2019 time-frame.

“Only sensitisation meetings for district education managers, community councillors, chiefs and parents have been held.”
Mr Ntsibolane said the other issues that the Government had failed on were the submission, exchange and the verification list of teachers whose payments were in arrears and the compilation of their payment after the unions had submitted the teachers’ lists.
The education minister could not be reached for comment as her phone was unavailable. LeNA

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