Seventeen teachers at Fatoto Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School embarked on a two-day industrial sit-down strike over lack of payment of their double-shift allowance.
The teachers of the school in Fatoto, Upper River Region, were in school but refused to get into their classrooms to teach on Thursday and Friday claiming they have not received their double-shift allowance since September 2012.
About five hundred students are affected in the said strike.
A teacher on double shift in government school in the country earns 50 per cent more of his monthly salary for additional shift taken.
A qualified teacher with Higher Teachers Certificate of the Gambia College at a government school earns about D3,000 per month as basic salary, and other allowances depend on the location – whether urban or rural – of the teacher.
“We are absolutely dissatisfied with the lack of payment of our double-shift salary since September 2012 and no official reason has been given for this,” an aggrieved teacher, who wished not be named, said.
However, the industrial action of the teachers yielded dividend as the school authorities swiftly intervened to resolve the matter.
The teachers will now resume teaching today, Monday, as they have reached an agreement with the school authorities that the payment of their double-shift allowance will start end of this month, March 2013.
Initially, the teachers said they were ready to continue the sit-down strike until the authorities are ready to resolve their concerns.
Gambia News Online was able to gather that the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) through the Regional Education Directorate in Region Six had asked the said school to reduce the number of teachers on double shift.
Furthermore, the Planning Unit of the ministry is also reported to have asked the principal of the school, Mr Demba Bah, to reduce the number of teachers on double-shift allowance.
The principal was said to have responded that all the teachers on double shift were qualified for it, though this could not be independently verified.
However, a teacher of the school said: “Some officials of the Planning Unit at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education visited the school last week and they realised that all the teachers on double shift are qualified for it.”
Fatoto School is a combination of a senior secondary and upper basic school operating in the morning and afternoon shifts respectively.
Fatoto village is about 50km east of the regional capital, Basse.
When contacted for his comment, the Principal of Fatoto Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School denied that the teachers were on a sit-down strike and hung up his phone on this reporter, abruptly.
This reporter could not reach the regional director of Region Six and officials of the ministry of basic education to have their comments.