Some mistreated and unpaid teachers have written a letter to the Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU) accusing them of negotiating with the Ministry of Education to pay them nine months salary instead of the two years they have worked for.
The letter stated such an action is “unfortunate as it is irresponsible and inhuman” on the part of the union that is supposed to be sensitive and responsive to our plight to betray not only their confidence but also their hard worked due entitlement.
“If the above understanding is proved to be true, and or no effort is made to direct things to our advantage, we will be left with no alternative but to take drastic action” the letter stated.
The aggrieved teachers said they will ensure that they will address a document to the Ministry of Education and other relevant authorities demanding that no dues be deducted from their anticipated salary and they are not willing to join the union because of their selfish interest.
Secondly, they will convince the general public, particularly the teaching public why the concerned teachers are right in their move to ensure a change in the present SLTU executive.
Also for the Ministry of Education, they will make a formal complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman and the Human Right Commission for underpaying them as a violation of economic liberty.
They want all the relevant people and institution to know that this is their problem and they have been treated badly by the SLTU and the Ministry.
Responding to the letter, the Secretary General of SLTU Davidson Kuyateh said he is yet to see the letter and the allegation made by these teachers are “absurd and incorrect.” He said they never negotiated for these teachers to get nine months salary instead of the two years. He said if they have such problem they need to go to their Principals to solve such problems as they were recruited by them.
Mr Kuyateh said most of these teachers have worked for some months before the ministry is in the know, so the ministry always pays them from the time they receive their appointment letters.
“In this case, most of them received their appointment letters some nine months ago, so that is what the ministry owes them”, he concluded.
He appealed to them to make sure that they take their grievances to their heads of school who recruited them and not to the Union.
Mr Kuyateh said it is their constitutional right to protect the teachers and they will do it as long as they are part of the SLTU. He said any matter concerning teachers, they will take it up with the ministry and will defend their right, but when they took up the matter with the ministry, most of these teachers according to the Ministry’s records showed that they received their appointment letters nine months ago. He said the schools which employed them do not liaise with SLTU nor the ministry immediately they do the employment so that they can start the process at once. This he said has been causing problems for the union as well as the ministry. He concluded that they will try to find a way to solve this problem once and for all.