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FBC lecturers threaten strike action

September 5, 2019

By Yusufu S. Bangura

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President Williette James addressing the press

The Academic Staff Association (ASA) of Fourah Bay College (FBC) University of  Sierra Leone has yesterday issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Government of Sierra Leone, promising to engage in an industrial  strike action and as well withhold students’ grades, if their full annual leave allowances  plus their July and August salaries are not paid.

Speaking during a presser hosted at the Maths Theatre on FBC campus, President of ASA, Williette James said they were aggrieved with the delay in the payment of salaries and full annual leave allowances, since the government decided to take over direct payment of salaries effective July, 2019.

“We the members of the Academic Staff Association are issuing a 21-day notice for a strike action effective Thursday 5th September, after which ASA-FBC will resort to an industrial action. We are also demanding that government should withdraw from the direct payment of salaries and allowances,” she said.

She recalled that at a previous ASA-FBC meeting held on 8th August, the Acting Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sierra Leone assured members of staff that the July and August salaries and 50% of their leave allowances would be paid by the end of August, but stated that up till now nothing has been done in that direction.

She said they would continue to mark examination scripts, supervise dissertations, long essays and research projects, but that they would withhold the grades until all outstanding payments are made.

Meanwhile, government through the Ministry of Finance has decided to take over payment of salaries of staff of the University of Sierra Leone and others across the country. In a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance, they stated that salaries of other universities including Njala University, Ernest Bai Koroma University, among a host of others have been paid.

The ministry claimed in their statement that the delay in the payment of salaries to staff of the University of Sierra Leone was as a result of discrepancies discovered during a verification exercise conducted to ascertain the number of staff. They promised to pay immediately those discrepancies are corrected.

But according to the ASA president, government has not officially supplied them with information detailing as to why their salaries have  not been paid, adding that  the Finance Director of FBC only informed them that government hasn’t disburse  money into the college’s account.

She reminded President Bio about his pronouncement of seizing to be Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone, adding that if government wanted to pay their salaries, such should be done through the university.

Vice President of ASA, Dr. Abdulai Walon-Jalloh said they have engaged the government and university authorities and also sent correspondence to the Minister of Education concerning their salaries and annual leave allowances, but that nothing has been done in that direction.

He said the delay in the payment of their salaries and annual leave allowances has had an unquantifiable negative impact on their being as lecturers, as they have to take good care of their families.

He noted that members of ASA were struggling on a daily basis to survive, because their homes were running dry as they depend on those salaries to upkeep their families.

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