Lecturers on Strike
Lecturers of all the polytechnics and teacher training colleges in Sierra Leone have gone on a sit-down strike for irregular and appalling conditions of service and for governments failure to sign the 2011 Revised and Harmonised Conditions of Service for polytechnics, a working document developed in 2009 by the college councils, the principals, the Tertiary Education Committee (TEC), the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Education, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the National Polytechnic and Teacher Training College Senior Staff Association (NAPTTSSA).
NAPTTSSA, which represents all the lecturers of the Northern Polytechnic in Makeni, the Eastern Polytechnic in Kenema, the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET), the Port Loko Teachers College and the Freetown Teachers College (FTC), resolved on the strike action on Tuesday, June 10, during a general meeting on the FTC campus where it was decided that the strike action takes effect, June 17.
The lecturers have taken the industrial action due to several grievances prominent among which is the woeful failure of successive governments to provide a stipulated, precise, agreed, documented and signed conditions of service for polytechnics, a situation which, they say, has been responsible for the variation in salaries with some polytechnics receiving higher salaries than the others.
The striking lecturers are also aggrieved over the fact that though they were involved in the development of the 2011 Revised and Harmonised Conditions of Service for Polytechnics, they were not involved in the finalization of the document which, they alleged, has been tampered with as some changes have been made on it. They alleged that the salary scale has been expunged from the document, making it appear meaningless. They also registered their dissatisfaction over the pegging of the ex-gratia payment to only lecturers who serve for twenty years.
They accused government of not honouring the May 31st deadline it set for the signing of the document.
The lecturers are calling for a revisit of the 2011 working document and their involvement in its finalization process, further calling for a re-inclusion of the salary scale expunged from the document and a reduction of the ceiling set for the ex-gratia payment and, finally, they want their working document hastily processed and signed. The lecturers have vowed not to return to work until their demands are addressed.
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