- Published on Tuesday, 12 June 2012 03:04
- Written by ROSE ATHUMANI
- Hits: 1079
TEACHERS are up in arms, threatening a countrywide strike if their demand for a pay increase of more than 180 per cent is not honoured by the government.
Their demands include a 100 per cent salary increase, further 50 and 55 per cent allowances for Arts and Science teachers respectively and a 30 per cent allowance for teachers who work in difficult conditions.
Addressing journalists on Monday, the president of Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU), Mr Gratian Mkoba, said that if the government does not comply with the teacher demands, the National Council for TTU will announce a countrywide strike.
"We are expecting the salary increase to be reflected in the July salary slips," Mr Mkoba told journalists. He added that the government has enough money to meet the teachers' demands.
He said that in its January meeting this year, the TTU's National Council agreed to include salary increase and allowances in the list of demands. The recommendations were forwarded to the government by TTU's top officials.
According to Mr Mkoba, the government through the ministry of public services, failed to appoint members of the Teachers' Service Joint Staff Council, after the previous one was dissolved when its term expired in June, last year.
He said early this month that the TTU National Council met again in Dodoma to receive the feedback from government, but were saddened by the fact that the ministry of public services, despite constant reminders to appoint member of the Teachers' Service Joint Staff Council, had failed to do so.
Mr Mkoba said that TTU has registered the conflict with their employer. In this case the grievances have been taken to the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration (CMA). If, after 30 days, nothing comes out of CMA, they will conduct a secret ballot for the countrywide strike to go ahead.
"We are looking forward to discussing this issue with the government through the CMA. we want the cake on the table, if not then we will decide what to do next," he said, noting that they are expecting to give back an answer to teachers by 7th July, this year.
He said that once the teachers go for the voting exercise, the government will be given 48 hours to comply with their demands before the strike begins. "We have followed all the legal requirements to make the strike legal. In the process teachers are protected from being sacked," he explained.
Mr Mkoba wondered why teachers' demands are never met on time, while those of doctors and other practitioners are usually addressed. "We are the ones who teach everyone else, including doctors, but we are the lowest paid civil servants," he explained.
The Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa could not be reached for comment on Monday. However, the ministry's spokesperson, Ms Magdalene Kishiwa, said she would find out on Tuesday if the teachers' demands have reached her ministry.