Lesotho Teachers Trading Union Plots a strike
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By Mamello Mosaefane
Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU) has threatened to bring back the teachers’ strike following reluctance by the ministry of education to address their demands since the change of government in 2020.
The statement released by the union says the ministry has not fulfilled its agreement with teachers on issues they have since raised in 2018-2019.
The issues among others include repayment of teacher salaries arrears.
The statement also indicates that LTTU, Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT), and LESPA had an agreement with the government through the ministry of education in 2019, to resolve all the teachers’ grievances.
LTTU’s Secretary-General Mamoholoane Folene has however told KDNews that since the change of government in 2020, it has been difficult to work with the ministry of education in resolving their grievances in line with the 2019 agreement.
She said the previous government was attending to their grievances at a satisfying pace, but everything is happening at a very slow pace currently.
The agreement, according to Folene, stated that they can go on a strike should the government fail to fulfill its promises.
She, therefore, said they are preparing themselves for a strike as their issues are taking forever to be attended to.
Folene said they have never met with the current minister after many attempts of trying to do so.
“We only met with former minister Ntlhoi Motsamai In this current government, only for Covid-19 issues. We have never met with Minster ‘Mamookho Phiri as there are always reasons; either she is not in the country or she has pressing matters to attend to,” She said.
She further added while the minister is always unavailable to meet them, she still manages to meet with principals that represent other unions.
“This passes a message to us that maybe she has other reasons to avoid meeting with us if she is still able to meet with principals,” she added.
Folene also said in the past government, the associations met with the minister, through the Principal Secretary, which is something that seems difficult to happen now.
Speaking on the closing of Moshoeshoe II High School, LTTU raised concern on its members who are teachers at the school, whom it said the ministry has not clearly specified what will be happening to them during the school’s temporary closure.
While the Minister of education has said in her speech about the closing of this school that teachers will be sent to various schools, Folene said no teacher has been allocated a school to work from.
LTTU’s statement states that while the minister said the school closes because of the dilapidated buildings which are not conducive for learning, the school received a report that states otherwise.
The school, according to LTTU receive a report saying the school closes because of mismanagement of funds, misconduct of teachers and students, and the principal’s failure to manage the school, without mentioning anything about the dilapidated buildings.
The union, therefore, seeks the truth as to why the school is closed as it believes there is more to it than just the dilapidated building and what the report to the school says.
Giving the ministry stand on the LTTU statement, the ministry spokesperson Molikua Sekhonyana said “We have seen LTTU statement. Their biggest grievances are about their arrears and they have categories (substitutes, September salaries, acting allowance, etc), of which we are still working on which ones are not yet paid”.