Teachers’ union ‘sell-outs’ fired

Teachers’ union ‘sell-outs’ fired

MASERU – TEACHERS’ associations at district level this week turned against their national interim committee for allegedly “selling out” after they agreed with the government to suspend their strike.
The irate teachers met at the Mofumahali oa Tlholo Cathedral on Monday where they announced they had “fired” their leaders.

The announcement came after Communications Minister Thesele ’Maseribane, who chairs a subcommittee of ministers mandated to resolve the strike, declared last week’s demonstration by the teachers illegal.
’Maseribane had said the subcommittee had agreed with the teachers’ leadership that the strike would be called off pending the talks.
That announcement apparently infuriated the teachers who said their leaders had gone against the mandate they had been given.

The Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT)’s Maseru district spokesman, Gibson Matlanyane, said the committee had sold out.
Matlanyane was addressing teachers at the Roman Catholic Church premises on Monday where teachers were still pressing forward with the strike action.
He said they had organised a meeting to discuss how their strike will unfold but were caught by surprise when the police denied them access to the hall they had booked.

The police said the teachers had not applied for a permit to hold the meeting.
“Now we will not listen to anything from anybody,” Matlanyane said.
He said similar meetings were held in nine other districts for teachers to vent their anger over their grievances.
“We will never listen to anyone who will be addressing us over the media,” he said.

“We will not attend classes.”
He said they are now taking control because their committees had failed.
He said Chief ’Maseribane had also failed them.
“Thesele failed so we are going to propose a new subcommittee that is not chaired by him,” he said.
“And he has failed with distinction.”
The visibly irate Matlanyane said they were surprised to hear on media platforms that their strike had been cancelled.

Matlanyane said their committee used to consult them on every issue but for the first time decided to cancel their strike without informing them.
Matlanyane dismissed the threats by the government to implement the “no work, no pay” principle against teachers.
He said the laws governing teachers clearly state that a person can be accountable if he or she could miss work for more than 20 days.
“We were sold out by people with clear political affiliations,” he said.

He argued that they will not agree with any agreement pushed by their former committee members “because Chief Thesele is not mediating but is dictating”.
“We are also writing to the Cabinet to withdraw Chief Thesele. We do not want politics in this,” he said.

The Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU)’s Maseru district spokesman, Tiisetso Rasheleng, criticized the police for blocking their protests.
He said teachers had rallied behind the police when they were demanding their six percent salary raise.
“It is unfortunate that you want to stop us from getting what is ours yet we used to help you (when you were demanding) your six percent increments,” Rasheleng.

Rasheleng said because they do not have guns their grievances will not be addressed.
“We will fight with what we have,” he said.
Rasheleng said the current government will never get teachers’ votes because they favour those carrying guns.
He said the police went on strike without applying for a permit and nothing was done.

The LTTU secretary general ‘Mapitso Molai who is one of the committee members that teachers claim to have ousted told thepost that she will not comment on anything until it is official.
Molai said they are still holding meetings to resolve the teachers’ grievances.

Nkheli Liphoto

 

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