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How Relevant is Sierra Leone Teachers Union?

How Relevant is Sierra Leone Teachers Union?

The thousands of paid teachers in Sierra Leone are making compulsory monthly financial contributions to the Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU), making it one of the richest unions in this country. But is the union really committed to the cause of teachers? This remains the big question.

Many teachers continue to question the relevance of the SLTU which they accuse of doing little to improve the lot of teachers but concentrate on swelling their own pockets, luxuriating in fantastic vehicles while the teachers continue to languish.

We have gathered that when a teacher dies, the SLTU will not intervene until that corpse is embarrassed due to the unpleasant fact the union is highly centralized with almost every decision ratified by the head office, branch offices are said to be voiceless and economically not strong enough to respond to emergencies. Teachers do not enjoy free legal and medical services and the SLTU has not been able to successfully champion the cause of the thousands of so-called volunteer teachers who have served for several years without salaries although the Union was able to champion the reinstatement of democracy in Sierra Leone during the notorious AFRC interregnum.

The Hotel 5,10, meant for teachers, is so expensive that only rich teachers can afford to spend the night there when they visit Freetown. Poor teachers are compelled to dwell with friends and relatives. Regional SLTU complexes on which fabulous sums of money are said to have been expended are too small to accommodate all the teachers in the respective regions, so, whenever there is a meeting, teachers are coerced by lack of space to sit outside. Where then is all the contribution going?

We are calling on the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), to probe the SLTU for the use of the teachers’ monthly contributions which amounts to millions of Leones but is not reflecting on the general welfare of teachers but only benefitting a selected few.

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