Govt threatens to dismiss teachers
…teachers unfazed, vow to press on with fight for salary increments
THE Teaching Service Commission (TSC) in the Ministry of Education recently served some teachers with letters asking them to ‘show cause’ why they should not be dismissed for striking last November.
However, the Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) Maseru branch chairperson, Letsatsi Ntsibolane, says that the teachers will not be intimidated by their employer who they accuse of attempting to frighten them into abandoning their fight for salary increments and improved working conditions.
On Friday, Mr Ntsibolane and some teachers who are affiliated to LAT, the Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU) and the Lesotho Schools Principals Association (LeSPA), were served with the ‘show cause’ letters.
They were asked to show cause why the TSC “cannot uphold the recommendations of the inspectors to dismiss them from teaching service”.
Last November members of the three unions went on strike to press the government to grant them salary increments and review their working conditions. And the latest ‘show cause’ letters dated 18 January 2019, were delivered against the background of impending strike that was announced by the same unions on Friday.
Mr Ntsibolane, who also serves as the spokesperson of the three teachers’ unions, is one of those who have been served with the letters which require him to ‘show cause’ within seven days why he should not be dismissed for allegedly neglecting his teaching duties last November.
“The (Teaching Service) Commission is in receipt of a report of inspection carried out at your school (Lithabaneng High School) on 15 November 2018 wherein you are alleged to have been negligent in performing your duties in that:
- You announced an illegal strike for teachers to partake.
- You absented yourself from duty on the days of the illegal strike.
- Your illegally engaged on different occasions one Palesa Maapesa, Nthati Mabooe and Teboho Pheane to stand in and perform your teaching duties while you were absent from school (work),” part of the TSC’s letter to Mr Ntsibolane reads.
“The recommendation before the commission arising from that report is that you be dismissed from the teaching service in accordance with Section 19 (4) of the Education Act No. 3 of 2010.
“The commission therefore requests you to show cause in writing within seven days of receipt of this letter why it cannot uphold the recommendation of the inspectors to dismiss you from teachers service.”
But in an interview with the Sunday Express on Friday, Mr Ntsibolane said the teachers’ unions had anticipated such letters which were meant to scare them off ahead their impending strike whose date is yet to be announced. He said they would not be intimidated into backing down from striking for higher salaries and improved working conditions.
“It is true I received the ‘show cause’ letter and we are yet to discuss with my fellow comrades how we will respond within the stipulated seven days.
“However, the Ministry of Education has been making frantic efforts to discourage us from fighting for our rights and we believe this is one of those empty threats they are hoping will scare us off. What they do not know is that they are only motivating us to push even harder.
“We are not scared at all and in fact they have are fuelling up more teachers to gather at the at the Moshoeshoe 1 monument in Maseru on Monday (tomorrow) to await the verdict of the Directorate of Disputes Prevention and Resolution (DDPR),” Mr Ntsibolane said.
The teachers expect to be granted a certificate of approval for their contemplated strike action by the DDPR tomorrow.