By Nelson Manneh
Teachers in public schools across the country have complied to embark on a strike following a directive through a statement issued by the secretary of the Gambia Teachers Union (GTU) on Sunday, February 13, 2022.
The GTU said the strike was as a result of the unpaid COVID-19 Allowance dues and owing to a cohort of teachers.
The union issued a memo on Sunday to all teachers across the country which reads as follows:
“After a thorough review of the progress so far gained by close of business on Friday 11th February 2022, the Union found out that teachers in Region 3 are still not paid. Also, a good number of teachers in Region one, including all the senior secondary schools and region two are still left out.
“In view of the aforementioned, the National Executive Committee held another emergency meeting on Saturday 12th February 2022 and passed a resolution that: Teachers in all public schools across the country should put their tools down until advised otherwise.”
The leadership of GTU said they met the authorities on Friday, February 4, 2022, to discuss the way forward on matters related to unpaid COVID-19 allowance dues and owing to a cohort of teachers.
The union said the impression was given that the necessary administrative action will be taken to facilitate and expedite the payment of the said arrears early last week which did not happen.
In view of the above, the National Executive Committee of the GTU, at its recently held Emergency Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, demanded the following:
“That all pending COVID-related Allowances dues and owing to teachers be paid by close of business, Wednesday 9th February 2022.
“That henceforth, Government does everything to avoid the miscommunication, inadequate coordination that led to a section of the teachers being paid while others are left out. Similar lapses were experienced with Hardship Allowances last year.
“The Executive Committee further decided that failure to deliver they will advise Teachers in Regions 1 and 3 to “PUT DOWN THEIR TOOLS” indefinitely until such a time that they receive their dues accordingly.”
This reporter visited some public schools within Kanifing Municipality and Banjul and found out that teachers had abandoned their classes. Some teachers could be seen under the trees within their school campus while students were loitering around.
The headmasters of some of the schools visited said they were informed by their union not to speak to any visitor who went to their schools, but refer them to the union.
At the time of going to press, the Permanent secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education was contacted but could not be reached. Foroyaa will continue to monitor the situation and will subsequently update its readers.