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LCE staff to down tools

 

Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

Lesotho College of Education Lectures  during their strike last year
Lesotho College of Education Lectures during their strike last year

Lesotho College of Education (LCE) workers are set to go on strike this week over “several grievances” they allege have remained unresolved “for a long time”.

The indefinite strike is expected to begin on Wednesday, according to communication between the disgruntled staff and management of the teachers’ training institute, which the Sunday Express has obtained.

Among other grievances, the staffers are unhappy their monthly premiums are not being remitted to respective destinations such as banks and insurance companies, although the monies would have been deducted from their salaries.

In a letter dated 12 August 2014, and addressed to the college Rector, Dr John Oliphant, the workers write: “We are disturbed to learn that management still defaults on some of the payments/premiums due to our service providers/insurances.

“We learn this from our members who suffer embarrassment and humiliation upon being told that they will not get services they request because their payments are in arrears.

“On numerous occasions in the past, we have expressed fears about the future of our insurance policies due to management failing to remit the payments.

“As in many other issues of concern to us, management saw it fit to, once again, hide this vital information from us. We fail to see what this tendency is meant to achieve. Unfortunately, the truth has its miraculous ways of exposing itself even when desperate attempts to conceal it are made. We now know what was kept from us.

“On the basis of the foregoing, we wish to beseech management to show cause why the union (the Lesotho College of Education Staff Union {LECESU}) should not petition management for willfully misleading staff and continuing to reject, with disdain, the union’s call to desist from this illegal act. If, within seven days of receipt of this letter, no payment would have been made, we will be left with no option but to continue with the intention to petition management.”

In another letter dated 12 August and addressed to Dr Oliphant, the workers demanded tax refunds, arguing government reduced the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax in April this year, hence they cannot continue being docked the same PAYE.

“The pay-as-you-earn deduction by the government of Lesotho from April 2014 came to effect in July 2014. This therefore, means that there is money in refund due to employees of this college.

“Once again, we are kept guessing on this matter of concern to us as we have been on similar ones in the past. We would request management to advise us on when the monies owed to us will be paid…” the LECESU noted.

The  workers, in this case the lecturers, further accuse management of allegedly failing to address concerns arising from the Teaching Practice (TP) programme the educators often supervise throughout the country’s primary and high schools.

“Staff is ignorant on the ‘integrated syllabus’ that has taken root in primary schools lately. This situation renders staff ill-prepared for the important function of TP observations. The best staff does on TP is to exchange ignorance with student-teachers, which is criminal to continue doing,” the LECESU also noted.

The LECESU secretary general, Mpholo Leoisa, told the Sunday Express after being ignored by management, they had been left with no choice but to go on strike.

“The strike will start next week because the management has not been responsive. You should bear in mind that we have raised these issues before, so during the strike, we will also petition the Minister of Education and Training, Mrs ’Makabelo Mosothoane over these issues.”

Contacted for comment, the college registrar, Lineo Lepota, referred the Sunday Express to the Deputy Rector – Administration, Lehlohonolo Manamolela.

Mr Manamolela, on the other hand, further referred the Sunday Express to Dr Oliphant.

“He is the only person who can address your questions. But at the moment, he is out on an official trip. He will only be back on duty on Monday.”

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