Teachers demand 100% salary increment as sit-down-strike continues

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Teachers in The Gambia have started a nationwide sit-down strike, demanding for salary increment.

They are demanding 100% salary increment with good incentives. They will not go back to classrooms unless their demands are met by the government, according to them.

Reports reaching The Point have it that the strike is affecting students’ education, as they spend hours without their teachers in the classroom.

The pioneers of the strike named themselves as ‘Teacher’s for Change’.

The angry teachers are not only demanding 100% salary increment, but payment of allowances on time.

They also want provision of professional identity cards and 100% payment of their double shifts among host of others.

The mobiliser of the sit-down-strike, Alasana Ceesay, said the ongoing strike was necessitated due to poor salaries teachers are earning in the country.

“We will continue on our strike until our demands are met or the government gives us assurance that our demands will be put into consideration,” he said. “We just want to make it clear to the Ministry of Education that no amount of threat or intimidation can stop us.”

“Our salary cannot sustain us even for seven days and there is no other avenues where we can generate income with a view to sustain our families. We want the government to look into the issues of teachers,” he said.

For her part, Fatim Janha, a teacher at Latrikunda Sabigi Annex said their future lies in the teaching field. “We want the government to improve the standard teachers are living in the country more especially our salaries and some of our allowances.”

Mrs. Janha added that the sit-down-strike will continue unless the government meets their demands. “I’m not going back to school and teach unless the government convinces us. We are not surrendering and we are not retreating.”

Mrs. Antoinette Corr, the general secretary of The Gambia Teachers’ Union (GTU) stated that the union is not part of the ongoing nationwide teachers’ sit-down-strike. However, she said the union will continue on the negotiation with the government but their demand of 100% salary increment will be difficult for the fact that the budget has been already approved.

“At our own level, we desist ourselves from the strikes. We are not part of the strike because for us as a union, we believe in sitting around the table to discuss issues and we have been engaging the people that are making the demand,” she added.

“We are urging all teachers to go back to the classroom and teach. The union will continue on the dialogue with the ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MOBSE) and communicate to the relevant partners for the decision that have been reached,” she said.

“When they come out and make these demands, we intensify our negotiations with the government. We even went to the extent of asking for the data so as to help them and that was done.”

Author: Momodou Jawo