The problem with ASA strike action
In one of our recent editorials, we discussed the issue of the strike notice as put out by the Academic Staff Association (ASA) of the University of Sierra Leone, notably from the Fourah Bay College senior staff.
In our opinion, we believed the lecturers, like all other public sector workers, had legitimate grounds to issue an ultimatum demanding an improvement in their condition of service.
Those who understand the environment under which the lecturers work would surely pity their situation in the sense that some lecturers have taught for years on end but have nothing to show for all what they toiled for.
Interestingly, many students who went through some of these lecturers lave landed big time jobs in corporate or business organizations and soon became better off than their tutors.
That is why when lecturers demand a better condition of service it is not for fun or making an attempt to undermine any government as it being discussed in some circles.
And this is our point of contention. Instead of addressing the grievances of the lecturers in allowing normalcy to prevail in the campuses, some people have taken the issue out of context and politicized it.
Earlier, the education minister, Minkailu Bah, was heard on radio directing insulting remarks at the aggrieved lecturers, claiming that politicians were behind the proposed strike.
For us at Sierra Express Media, we view this antagonistic approach to resolving the problem as totally out of place. The minister must be mindful of the fact that this is not the first time lecturers have been pressing for an improvement in their work conditions.
And we know the approach normally adopted to reach a compromise in such cases. This does not seem to be the case this time around but a matter of divide and rule as it currently obtains both at Fourah Bay College and IPAM, the two institutions that have ventured out with the strike. Since the issue has taken a somewhat political direction, some of the lecturers, said to be sympathizers of the APC government have craftily backed out of the strike and continue to work even though initially the 21-day ultimatum was unanimously supported by all ASA members.
In an attempt to resolve the impasse, the University authorities have issued out a press statement stating events leading to the strike but in the same vein appealing to the lecturers to withhold their action and allow negotiations to take place.
We feel very pleased that the university has come to realize the grave implication of a strike action at a time when the students are preparing for their final exams.
Against this backdrop, we join the university authorities to plead with the lecturers to suspend their action so that their demands could be looked into without further delay.
This is all we ask for from the striking lecturers.
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