Students of Fourah Bay College were yesterday greeted with surprise following the decision by the college’s junior staffs to disrupt all examinations that were on-going as a way of enhancing their protest against the University authorities for failing to address their grievances.
Junior staffs yesterday went round, shouting and preventing students from taking their second semester examinations, because of what Sewa Tarawally, President for the group, referred to as “the refusal by the college administration to address some of our problems”.
There was confrontation between students and the aggrieved workers at the Mathematics room where they [junior staffs] had gone to stop students from taking their examinations.
Addressing his colleagues yesterday at Fourah Bay College, the president for the junior staffs at Fourah Bay College, Sewa Tarawally said, they should embark on a “no money, no work” strike action and that they should ensure, those of their colleagues who wanted to betray them should not be allowed to do so. It was a sit down strike action but it is like the administration does not want to address our concerns”, he said, stating that “we should come here tomorrow to ensure we prevent any work on campus”.
He called on colleagues to go in search of others who had refused to join them on their strike action. “We should go into even the office of the Principal, the Registry and all other areas to ensure we stop work”.
Speaking to Awoko, the President said, it all started months back when they forwarded their concerns to the authorities for action. Among the concerns, he said, the administration has refused to effect the payment of a thirty percent increase of their annual salary and their leave allowance. “Government added Le 34,000 to our basic salary from 2005 but to date that has not been effected on our salary”, and that when some of their colleagues were sacked, their benefits were never given to them.
Meanwhile, reacting to the decision by the Junior Staffs, students, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, they empathize with the aggrieved workers and therefore called on the college administration to look into their grievances. “We are not happy. It is unacceptable that whilst we are taking our exams, junior staffs are coming around and shouting at us, and even preventing us from taking our exams. But I think the college administration must do something to address the problems”, a first year student told Awoko.
However, the Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sierra Leone, Professor Aiah Gbakima said, “I feel sad that, it is happening”, and revealed that they have as an administration, taken all the needed calculations to the Ministry of Education, who had also referred those calculations to the Ministry of finance for action.
The aggrieved workers, the Professor said, should not take the law into their hands. “They have right to strike but not to destroy property and harm people. We have done all the calculations and we expect them to come to work. The university must function,” Professor Gbakima said.
He disclosed that the police have been called in to ensure security is provided for students on campus. Meanwhile, there was a large Police presence on FBC campus yesterday.