Teachers End Industrial Action 

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By Nelson Manneh

Teachers have resumed teaching, ending their industrial, in response to the call of the Gambia Teachers Union (GTU). According to the GTU, the reason for calling off the strike is because they have finally reached an agreement with the central Government and MoBSE on their nine demands that the authorities initially rejected.

The four day strike commenced on Wednesday 4th January 2023 and ended on Monday 9th January 2023, and all the teachers who spoke to this reporter said they hope the government respects their agreement with the GTU.

“In many instances, the government will accept our demands but will not fulfil them,” some of the teachers remarked.

The strike, according to the union, is as a result of the ‘inconsistency’ in the payment of allowances to personnel of the Education Sector, since the introduction of the new pay scale, reflecting 30% salary increment and other technical demands.

A teacher at Serrekunda School who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity, alleged that teachers’ rights are violated by the government and their welfare is not prioritised.

“For teaching to be effective and efficient, teachers need to be respected. We deserve to live a better life like other civil servants,” he said.

The teacher also decried that the teaching fraternity is losing teachers daily to other sectors because the profession is not lucrative.

“It is the responsibility of the government to make the trade lucrative. Teachers don’t benefit from any opportunity, so our take away home needs to be looked at,” he said.  

He said teachers value their student’s education and will not necessarily stay home without a genuine cause.

In all the public schools visited, all the teachers who spoke to this reporter said the government needs to look into their welfare and give them their due in terms of take away home and other opportunities.

The demands that were made by the Teachers’ Union include re-classification of schools, including senior secondary schools that are mature to be managed by Boards of Governors; paying of RED auxiliary staff, caretakers and payment of double shift staff in both public schools and subvented institutions who were missed out on the 2019 50% salary increment including payment of drawbacks; all non-teaching staff at REDs, including teachers yet to be re-designated but serving as Cluster Monitors or Education Officers should be paid double shift; in lieu of the demand for re-linking percentage-based allowances, Graduate and Retention Allowances should be reviewed to cater for the GTs receipt of both allowances and the upward revision of the Retention Allowance; Invigilation Allowance for WASSCE and GABECE shall be paid after MoBSE and GTU worked on the modalities; the proposed expansion of the Hardship Scheme will be reviewed for consideration, and the Civil Service Revolving Loan Scheme will be open to all teachers in subvented schools.