By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Newly inaugurated president of the Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU) has said new increment in teacher’s salary countrywide ‘falls far below their expectations.’
Speaking shortly after taking the oath of office to man the affairs of the Union for the next four years, Mohamed Salieu Bangura said his executive would be meeting the Ministers of Finance and Economic Development and Education, Science and Technology as well as other relevant stakeholders for a holistic interpretation and implementation of the new pay package for teachers.
While emphasizing that conditions of service for teachers have been a key rallying point, Mr. Bangura urged members of the Union to adhere to rules and regulations enunciated by the Ministry of Education in order to achieve success.
“We appreciate the increase in salaries that has been made so far, but such increase fall far below the expectations of the Union and its members. We shall continue with the process of dialogue and negotiation with government and other stakeholders in development,” he said.
According to him, even though the main task of the Union is to build the power of teachers, they should all come together and put shoulders to the wheel to improve the education sector.
The SLTU President appealed to the government and other relevant stakeholders to design a policy with a view to addressing myriad challenges faced by retired teachers in accessing their National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) pension, and for the latter to revisit its retirement and death benefits.
“On Friday 19 April 2014, teachers across the country demonstrated their democratic maturity and love for quality leadership by electing me as President of the Union. I appeal to all members of the Union to work together as a team and put aside the negative tribal sentiment and philosophy from our political affiliation. Let us have in mind that many governments have come and gone but the Union is here waiting. Let us don’t comprise the unity and stability of the Union,” he maintained.
Speaking earlier, the Union’s out-gone President, Alhaji Abdulai Koroma, thanked members for their unflinching support throughout his tenure of office and urged the new president to do all he could to move the Union forward.
He said that during his tenure, his executive had to battle with many challenges which confronted them, with the worst being the unavailability of funds to address issues put forward by members.
Also, Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Alhaji Dr. Mohamed Kamara, congratulated members of the Union for a successful national quadrennial conference, adding that the level of tranquility in the entire process was a manifestation of free and fair election.
He assured the new executive of the ministry’s readiness to work with them in addressing the many challenges affecting teachers.