GTU Calls Off Teachers’ Sit-Down Strike

87

By Nelson Manneh

The leadership of the Gambia Teachers Union (GTU) on Monday 9th January 2023 called off the ongoing sit-down strike with immediate effect and urged teachers to report to work today.

The GTU at a press conference held yesterday said they have met with officials from the central government and have come to an agreement. The Union said the government has finally agreed to fulfil their demands.

Ismaila S Ceesay the president of the Gambia Teachers Union said in the wake of the nationwide sit-down strike sanctioned by the Gambia Teachers Union over unsettled demands from the Government of ‘The Gambia, an Emergency meeting of the GTU, Ministry of Public Service and MoBSE was convened by the PS-MoBSE on Saturday, January 7, 2023.

“The purpose of the meeting was to holistically relook at the demands of the Union to arrive at a common ground to address the standoff,” he said.

Furthermore, the GTU president said another meeting was convened on January 9, 2023 to reach a sustained agreement on the conclusions of the earlier meeting.

“This was graced by Honourable Ministers of MoBSE, Finance and Public Service as well as the office of Accountant General. In attendance were PS, MoPS, PS, MoBSE, DPS, PMO, DPS, MoBSE, Director Civil Service Reform,” he said.

He said at the end of all their engagements with the government officials they have come to an agreement and the government has promised to fulfil their demands.

Mr Essa the GTU Deputy Secretary General said one of their demands was for MoBSE to work on the reclassification of schools, including Senior Secondary Schools that are mature to be reclassified and ‘Board’ schools which they agreed to do.

“We also demanded that the PMO agreed for auxiliary staff working at Regional Education Directorates and schools operating double shifts to be compensated for their additional hours/services they work for,” he said.

Mr Sowe said a Taskforce has been established by MoBSE to work on the modalities.

In addition to this, he said the MoBSE shall work on the initial 50% Salary Increment that was not applied to ancillary staff, including Caretakers. GTU is to provide the list of affected staff.

“We demanded that the PMO acknowledge the need to review the percentages of double shift allowances for non-teaching staff at Regional Education Directorates. MoBSE stated that work is currently in progress,” he said.

On the matter of 30% salary increment, Sowe said the PMO has noted the observation of the GTU and commits itself to engaging the Ministry of Finance with a view to regularizing the case of affected staff. In lieu of re-linking percentage-based allowances, graduate and retention allowance for teachers will be reviewed at an appropriate moment.

He said MoBSE has considered the need to pay Invigilation Allowance for GABECE and WASSCE. However, together with relevant stakeholders including the GTU, it will work out the modalities for such.

He said that PMO has agreed for MoBSE to review and re-submit the new hardship expansion scheme initiated by MoBSE for consideration.

In addition to the above; he said PMO has agreed to open up to teachers in subvented schools to access the Civil Service Revolving Loan Scheme.

The resolution was signed and sealed on the 8th Day of January 2023 by: PS PMO, PS MoPS, PS MoBSE, Ag, GS, GTU and President GTU.