Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Teachers to drag government to court over delayed progression

The Botswana Secondary Teachers Union (BOSETU) is set to drag the Teaching Service Management to court over its failure to pay outstanding funds owed to 21 of their members, who had suffered prejudice and injustice after their progression in employment was delayed.

According to a letter addressed to the Teaching Service Management by the Union’s lawyers, Motlhala Rabashwa Ketshabile, dated December 16th 2009, government was given up to January 12th to have responded to the teachers’ concerns.

“We hate to appear to be putting you under pressure but if we do not hear from you by 12th January 2010, we will approach the High Court for redress,” reads part of the letter.

The letter further stated that the decision to engage the lawyers followed numerous appeals made to TSM to resolve the matter in which the upward movement of some teachers from certain scales was delayed without reason.

The scheme of service dictates that teachers should, upon satisfactory service in a certain scale, be recommended by the school head to move to the next stage, usually after a period of two years.

It has emerged that some school heads have been withholding the elevation of deserving teachers, by either not recommending them at all or not submitting them to the higher authorities in time.

Tobokani Rari, Vice Secretary General of BOSETU said last week that at least 35 of their members have registered queries to the effect that their movement to the next higher scale was delayed by a year or two without payment for the period delayed.

“Consequently, our members suffered damages in loss of appropriate salary and other benefits like travelling concessions and pensions that were supposed to accrue to them,” Rari added.

Against this background, BOSETU raised a complaint that some teachers were made to suffer because of their superiors’ non performance. To support their case, BOSETU cited a 3 February, 2009 savingram written by the Chief Education Officer, South Region, to school heads, which was in essence an acknowledgement of the situation by the authorities.

The savingram implored both primary and secondary school heads to recommend teachers for upgrading two or more months before the effective date so that TSM is also accorded plenty of time to respond to the recommendations.

Information passed to The Telegraph shows that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has in the past had to write to TSM that it will not in the future entertain retroactive payments for any delayed upgrading.

“TSM chose not to respond to our lawyers’ letter requesting that they expedite remedial measures in relation to the issue, despite protracted consultations with officials on the same thing,” concluded Rari.

Allegations have been made that most of the excesses on the part of school heads were actually deliberate. Should the matter proceed to court BOSETU will argue that several appeals to have the matter resolved were in vain.

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