Teachers union gives govt 5-day ultimatum
By Correspondent Hellen Nachilongo
The Tanzania Teachers Union has given the government five days to pay the salaries of over 100 teachers in Dar es Salaam and Rombo District, Kilimanjaro Region, who it says have gone unpaid for nearly a year.
A TTU leader said in an interview in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the teachers would be forced to strike if their dues were not settled by the deadline.
Reports says a total of 60 teachers based in Temeke, Dar es Salaam, have not been paid salaries for 11 months. Some 50 teachers in Rombo District are also understood to have gone unpaid for a number of months.
TTU deputy secretary general Hezekiah Oluoch said that if the government does not honour its commitments on the teachers, ``they will go physically to the Education and Vocational Training ministry to demand their rightful dues``.
He said they will also refer the matter to the High Court (Labour Division) ``because it is against the agreement entered into by teachers` union and the government in connection with the need to pay the teachers on time``.
``We wrote a letter to President Jakaya Kikwete two months ago about 50 teachers in Rombo District who have not been paid their salaries, but the letter has not been replied to,`` he said.
``I have just written another letter today to the ministry (of Education and Vocational Training) so that it could intervene and help the teachers to get their salaries and arrears,`` he added.
Oluoch called on all the teachers across the country who have not been paid their salaries to report to the nearest TTU office ``immediately`` so that they could draw up a strategy to help them press the government into paying them.
``If we do not push hard enough, the government will lie low and the teachers will keep on suffering,`` he noted.
He said the problem was compounded by the fact that more than 400 teachers were wrongly posted to Dar es Salaam last year, causing extra inconveniences to the teachers.
Reached for comment, Education and Vocational Training deputy minister Mwantumu Mahiza wondered as to who Oluoch was to give the government an ultimatum.
``Who is Oluoch? How dare he give the government a five-day ultimatum? Anyway, try to phone the minister (Prof Jumanne Maghembe).
He might be in a better position to give a comment. I`m not in the city (Dar es Salaam) at the moment. I`m touring my constituency,” she said.
Last year teachers planned a nationwide strike which, however, TTU President Gratian Mukoba later called off. Following the move, he was beaten up by enraged teachers who instead opted for a go-slow.
The teachers were demanding long delayed promotions, salary arrears, re-registration (for those whose names had been scrapped from the payroll), the establishment of a Teachers` Joint Staff Council and fuller involvement of their union in assessing teachers’ claims.