Chaos mars teachers’ salary payments

Chaos mars teachers’ salary payments

MASERU – THERE is chaos at the Ministry of Education after the government bungled the implementation of the no-work-no-pay policy on teachers.
It emerged this week that teachers who were on strike received their salaries while those who reported for duty were not paid.
The mistake has embarrassed the government which vowed to punish striking teachers.

Now teachers who were paid despite being on strike are bragging that they received “sitting allowances”.
And those who were at work but did not receive salaries feel betrayed.
The government’s blunders have exposed the complexities of implementing the no-work-no-pay policy when there are no clear records. So far, the government is relying on log books from principals to know who reported for duty.

The Ministry of Education’s principal secretary for basic education, Dr Neo Liphoto, this week admitted that there were some mistakes.
“As the ministry we want to verify that indeed there was an error,” Dr Liphoto said.
He said striking teachers who got paid are now mocking those who worked but did not receive their salaries. Dr Liphoto said teachers who worked but were not paid should write to the ministry.

The letters, he said, should be endorsed by the principals and chairmen of school boards.
He said a log book should be provided to prove that a teacher was at work.
He said the government will continue to implement the ‘no-work-no-pay’ policy despite the mistakes last month.

The Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) spokesman, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, said the errors show that the government is disorganised.
“They should have made sure that they pay those who attended classes if they opted for the principle,” Ntsibolane said.
He said teachers who were on strike for one week in September have been denied their salaries just like those who didn’t report for duty for the whole month.

Ntsibolane said refusing to pay teachers will not resolve the crisis but further strain relations between the government and the teachers.
The government, he added, is punishing teachers for fighting for better salaries and work conditions.
“Teachers are human beings who have nothing except to depend solely on their salaries,” he said.

“Our laws state that we (teachers) should not own companies or big businesses so that we focus only on education.”
He said the government has now demoralised even those teachers who wanted to work.
“Who will teach from the heart without a salary for the whole month?”

Ntsibolane accused the government of trying to ride roughshod over teachers “simply because it has the power to do so”.
That the strike has dragged on for nearly a year shows that there is lack of leadership in government, he said.
“One day God will give this country a leadership that loves the people.”

The LAT spokesman for the Maseru district, Gibson Matlenya, said he is one of the teachers who did not receive their salaries.
“In my school only one person was paid,” Matlenya said.
He said the LTA is planning to file an application in the High Court to compel the government to show the criteria used to implement the no-work-no-pay policy.
“They want to scare us so that we do not go on strike during the exams,” he added.

Grade 10 and Grade 12 students will sit for their final exams this month.
Matlenya said the union will not be intimidated because they believe that their fight is just.
He accused the government of trying to arm-twist the teachers to return to work before their grievances are resolved.

Nkheli Liphoto



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