TEACHERS’ unions have threatened crippling industrial action in a bid to force government to address their concerns, which include working conditions and low salaries.
This was stated yesterday during a joint press briefing held by the Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) and Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU).
On behalf of the two unions, LAT Secretary-General Thaabe Kulehile said the teachers had made many concerted efforts to put across their concerns to Education and Training Minister Dr Mahali Phamotse. He said they made several attempts to meet with the minister, “but there seemed to be no concern from the ministry regarding our issues as there was no feedback on our 15 February and 8 June 2016 letters”.
He appealed to the minister to incorporate their grievances in the budget for the next financial year, adding that if they were not engaged next month or in September, they would down tools at a critical time when final examinations will be written.
On 27 June, more than 200 teachers delivered a petition outlining their grievances to Dr Phamotse.
The minister, who promised to study the grievances and give feedback, assured the teachers that the government would work hard to address their concerns.
In their petition, the teachers said they had expected to be paid better salaries after improving their qualifications.
Some had been Cambridge Overseas School Certificate-holders, but after improving their qualifications to teaching diplomas and degrees, they were still earning M3 049. This, they said, was what they were being paid when they had COSC qualifications and those with diplomas now expected M7 000 a month in line with their new status.
The teachers also demanded an explanation on why some teachers were given Casualty Return (CR) while others did not, even though they had the same qualifications.
The petition said the ministry’s failure to increase teachers’ salaries jeopardized students’ right to quality education as teachers worked under duress. The petition has demanded that Dr Phamotse increased teachers’ salaries by 31 July.