By: Our parliamentary reporter
The Minister of Basic and Secondary Education, Mrs Claudiana Cole recently told the National Assembly that an agreement was reached with most of the teachers who had threatened a sit-down strike.
She was speaking during questions and answers session of the national assembly shortly before it was adjourned as some members wanted to know if teachers’ demands and queries were addressed. According to Minister Cole, by Monday 23 September 2018 every school will be full with teachers contrary to the threat of a sit-down strike action by some teachers. She said her ministry recognised only one union which is the Gambia Teachers Union (GTU), “This union is the one that takes care of teachers’ welfare; but recently another group called Teachers for Change also emerged.”
She disclosed that her ministry in collaboration with stakeholders set up a taskforce to look into teachers’ concerns which after some consultations have come to terms. Minister Cole told law-makers that her ministry was closely working with the GTU; and few weeks ago GTU came up with some concerns which were adequately dealt with. Some of the concerns, she continued, were over payment for provincial allowance for teachers in rural areas. She said her ministry together with the Ministry of Finance have concluded the payment of those allowances. She said with the intervention of GTU the issue was solved and allowances have been increased to meet their demands. “All these issues of concern of our teachers are in good shape and treasury department will pay these allowances at the end of September 2018,” she added. She informed members that she recently witnessed the departure of many of the teachers posted in the provinces for their respective schools at the GTU offices in Kanifing..
According to her, the other group of teachers called, Teachers for Change separately raises demands for salary increase and her ministry’s position on that is: “if there is going to be any salary increment that have to be done across the board and not only for teachers, and that will be a government decision and not her ministry alone.” She further explained their other demands like raising double shift allowances and early payment of salaries.