Hundreds of teachers of primary and secondary schools in Kenema city last Friday converged at the Government Secondary school hall to stage a strike action in a bid to force the authority of the national executive and the government of Sierra Leone to address their welfare to improve their conditions of service.
The spokesman of the ‘Seek the Welfare of Teachers’ campaign Mohamed O’Level Sesay said the meeting was called not to create violence in the minds of people but to take a proactive measure by peacefully downing their tools until their demands are met. The teachers described the present leadership of the Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU) as a big disappointment and they blamed the union’s executive for mortgaging the rights of the teachers in the nation.
The aggrieved teachers said they have nothing against the government but blamed the union’s executive for failing to engage the government on issues affecting teacher’s nationwide. The teachers have vowed that all school administrative function should come to a halt with effect from Monday 7th February 2011 until government steps in to address the issue.
O’Level Sesay drew his colleagues attention to a meeting held at the Kenema District Council hall last year where the President of the union Mr. Abdulai Koroma told the teachers to take such action if come January 2011 the government did not fulfill their own side of the agreement concerning the promised salary increment package and the non approval of new teachers.
In his address to the aggrieved teachers the Deputy Director of Education (DDE) John Amara Swarray remarked that the strike action by teachers is only visible in Kenema city.
He cautioned the teachers to use the correct channels to present their case adding that when the situation gets out of control some members will be single handedly picked up for their individual role. The DDE left the hall without convincing the teachers to see reason and call off the strike action. The meeting peacefully went on and the irate teachers formed a 10 man committee charged with the responsibility to spearhead the strike action in other parts of the regions. They resolved to continue with their sit down strike until the situation is good for them and they will use the same channel to communicate with their membership when government adheres to their demand.
Many parents who spoke to this press in Kenema city expressed their worry about the negative impact the strike action will have on the academic work of their children and called for an immediate intervention by the government to find a redress of the problem before it degenerates further to a situation that will not be good for all.