By Ndey Sowe
Gambia Teachers Union (GTU) has on Tuesday, 11 January, 2022 convened a press conference to dispel rumours trending on social media pointing out that teachers and education officials are disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in a particular sector within the establishment.
The press conference was centered on feedback on The Union’s findings on the implications of the New Pay and Grading Structure on teachers and education sector personnel, held at GTU Head Office along the MDI Road, Bakau.
Following the press release issued on 23 December, 2021 by PMO on their intention to implement the approved New Pay and Grading Structure in view of Government’s anticipated ‘Civil Service Reforms Programme 2018-2027’, Mr Essa Sowe, the Deputy General Secretary GTU, said the they received several calls from its membership drawing its attention to some ‘disparities’ in a purported “Final Report of the Job Evaluation for Pay and Grading for Civil Service, The Gambia”.
This, Mr. Sowe noted, was triggered by an initial analysis trending on social media pointing out that teachers and education officials were disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in a particular sector within the Establishment.
“Our WhatsApp pages were inundated with tons of comments coupled with two petitions directed to the National Executive Committee of the GTU from Teachers For Change (TFC) and No to Teachers’ Exploitation (NTE), respectively. The Leadership of the GTU reviewed the comments from our pages and the petitions against the purported “Final Report of the Job Evaluation for Pay and Grading for the Civil Service, The Gambia,” Mr. Sowe disclosed.
Significant among what GTU has found, was that there are four (4) Pay Scale Options developed; option ‘A’ has a starting salary of GMD 19,613 per annum with 10 grades, 6 increments and standard increase/increment of 5% within and between scales, option ‘B’ has a starting salary GMD 23,328 per annum with 10 grades, 6 increments and standard increase/increment of 5% within and between scales, option ‘C’ has a starting salary of GMD 25,488 per annum with 10 grades, 6 increments and standard increase/increment of 5% within and between scales, and option ‘D’ has a starting salary of GMD 36,000 per annum with 11 grades + standard increase/increment of 5% within and between grades 1-5 and 3% between grades 6-11.
“We have confirmed that Option ‘D’ is the version approved by Cabinet and for the purpose of emphasis, an Integrated Pay Scale has been approved by cabinet but the development of the grading structure is in progress. If you like, it is work in progress”, Mr Sowe said.
Mr Sowe further explained that they have further reviewed the claims on the alleged degrading, comparatively against a particular Sector.
Mr. Sowe, however, said their confirmation led to the fact that this is not the case, adding the report categorically indicated that the “Job Evaluation has shown that most of the jobs in this cadre (The Teaching Cadre) are under-graded and therefore underpaid relative to other jobs”.
In this vein, Mr Sowe added that on the contrary, the teaching job has been given an added relative value both laterally and horizontally.
Mr Sowe disclosed: “It was apparent that all the analysis we saw was a comparison of the proposed new grading structure for teachers against the current scale for the sector in question. This is misleading and erroneous. We have found out that according to the Generic Pay and Grading Implementation Plan for Ministries/Institutions, PMO is yet to meet MoBSE to share their final input by reviewing the suitability or otherwise in order to address their own needs and circumstances.”
Mr Sowe reiterated that an Integrated Pay Scale with a starting salary of GMD 36,000 per annum with 11 grades + standard increase/increment of 5% within and between grades 1-5 and 3% between grades 6-11 has been approved by Cabinet.
“Work is in progress and as such, the draft Grading Structure for the Teaching Cadre is subject to MoBSE’s input but as it stands, there is relatively value added in consideration of the teaching job MoBSE has not yet submitted its data requested by PMO to initiate the final review,” Mr. Sowe said.
Considering the above, Mr Sowe said GTU will engage MoBSE henceforth to ensure that the data is provided for necessary action.
Mr Sowe reassured the membership and the general public that the Union will continue to fulfill its moral obligations and duty to the profession and country at all times.
“Members should desist from circulating unconfirmed information regarding issues affecting them and instead direct all their enquiries to their Union. Members should continue with their normal business while the Union engages with MoBSE to ensure the required data is provided to PMO,” Mr. Sowe advised.