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SLTU deserves ACC probe

SLTU deserves ACC probe

The Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU) is one of the biggest and most powerful trade pressure groups in Serra Leone; the union has 100% literacy and operates on a very fat budget which has never been positively reflecting on the welfare of teachers many of whom are living in miserable conditions.

With all the thousands of teachers who pay dues to the union every month, it is yet far from improving the lot of the teachers many of whom have now started questioning the justification of paying the dues and even the relevance of the union.

Apart from the Hotel 5, 10, which is reserved for only well-to-do teachers by virtue of the high cost lodging there, the SLTU cannot point at any other major development project beside comparatively the non-spacious and poorly constructed regional offices. I am trying to hammer home the point that the huge amount of money which the SLTU collects from the thousands of teachers is not commensurate to what it has been doing to improve the welfare of our teachers.

Sometimes when a teacher dies, the SLTU will not intervene until that corpse is embarrassed. Even when some teachers are dragged to the police, locked up and charged to court for minor offences, has the SLTU ever hired the services of a legal firm to be representing teachers who come in conflict with the law? Many teachers expend a considerable portion of their comparatively meager salaries on health problems, has the SLTU ever thought of establishing a hospital or any other health facility where teachers will be treated on cost recovery basis.

The colossal amount of union dues the SLTU collects per month should not just be for the running of its seemingly understaffed secretariat. But what is of graver concern to this writer is the apparent ineptitude of the SLTU to champion the cause of the hundreds of so-called volunteer teachers many of whom have taught for several years without approval and without salary. If the SLTU could successfully challenge one of the most ruthless military regimes in human history to restore democracy in Sierra Leone, why should this same union not successfully champion the cause of it multitude of members?

Or is it that many of the top executive members have been bought to the extent that they can no longer be bold enough to face government on burning issues affecting their members? What has this big union done to prevail on government to cease the delaying of payment of school subsidies?

I very much appreciate the bold step the union took in pressurizing government to at least upgrade the salary and other conditions of service for teachers but union is supposed to do far more than that to improve the welfare of teachers.

I conclude this piece by calling on the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to probe the SLTU to account for all the huge sums of union dues it has been collecting over the years. The SLTU certainly deserves ACC investigation.

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