About seventeen teachers at Fatoto upper basic and senior secondary school are on a sit-down strike over the lack of payment of double shift allowance. The strike began on today, Thursday 28th February 2013 when the said teachers refused to attend regular classes arguing that they have not been paid their second shift allowance since September 2012. “We are absolutely dissatisfied with the way things are going on here since September 2012,” an aggrieved teacher said.
About five hundred students are affected in the said strike.
It is not clear how long the strike will persist but teachers insist that until their plight is addressed they will not resume duties. “We want to dialogue with the concerned authorities and sort out the issue immediately. At least they need to assure us that they are ready to resolve the matter,” one of the teachers said.
“It is not our wish to abandon the students but the concerned authorities have a responsibility here too,” another one said, adding that it is the duty of the regional office to fix these types of problems.
According to sources, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) through the Regional Education Directorate in Region Six had asked the said school to reduce the number of teachers on double shift. Furthermore, the Planning Unit of the said ministry is also reported to have asked the Principal of the school, Mr Demba Bah to trim the number of teachers on double shift allowance. The principal’s response according to an informed source was that all the teachers on double shift were qualified for it.
“Some officials of the Planning Unit at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) visited the school last week and they realised that all the teachers on the double shift qualify for it,” the source said.
Fatoto School is a combination of a senior secondary and upper basic school operating in the morning and afternoon shift respectively. Most of the teachers affected are those who are full-time employees of the upper basic section and therefore conduct lessons in the morning shift, which they are paid for in the form a double shift allowance.
Fatoto village is about 50km east of the regional capital, Basse.
Other schools that are also affected by the double shift problem include Diabugu and Nyakoi senior secondary schools. However, Nyakoi’s case was resolved last month.
Efforts to reach the principal of the school, regional director and officials of the Planning Unit at the ministry proved futile.