Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) has said that it will dispatch lawyers to defend teachers’ and union leaders’ rights following their arrest during the recent nationwide strike.
The Union announced that its lawyers would be defending some 150,000 teachers who are required to provide written explanations of their involvement in the strike and to have them submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government.
Speaking to The Guardian by telephone, TTU Deputy Secretary General Ezekiah Oluoch said they were currently making assessment to establish the number of teachers and leaders who have been affected by the strike’s aftermath to allow the law to take its course.
“I call upon all teachers who have been given the letters not to respond to them before meeting with TTU district secretaries general for advice and guidance on how to write the letters…” Oluoch insisted.
“TTU is prepared to dispatch lawyers to all areas where teachers are been prosecuted in cases related to the strike…” he assured their members.
Oluoch said that there were some aspects in the ruling that will require clarification by the Court of Appeal so as to remedy the legal discrepancies which contravenes their legal rights. He said according to the judgment the loss incurred by students was irreparable thus the need for court injunction.
He said TTU also wants the Court of Appeal to clarify whether teachers have not abided by rule 43 of the 2007 Code of Good Practice which need two disputing parties to vote and protect the employer property and issue 48 hour notice before striking.
Last week the High Court Labour Division ruled the countrywide teachers’ strike unlawful and ordered TTU to call off the strike calling it illegal because it gave no room for the employer to respond to their claims in accordance to union codes.
TTU had organised the strike to pressurise the government to increase teachers’ salaries by 100 percent that raged between 196,500/- for certificate holders, 277,000/- for grade ‘B’ teachers and 469,200/- for undergraduate and 618,300/- for masters’ degree holders.
Apart from salary increase, they demanded teaching allowances up to 50 percent of their salaries as well as teaching environment allowances of 30 percent of their salaries.
In the course of the strike, some teachers and union leaders were arrested in the districts of Tarime, Rungwe, Kyela, Babati and regions of the Coast, Morogoro and Ruvuma.
The ruling which was read by the presiding Judge Sofia Wambura said the teachers’ strike was unlawful because the notice was sent to the Chief Secretary President’s Office on Friday last week at 3.00 pm moreover, he said the teachers were the once who refused to continue with the negotiations on the impending matter.
She also informed teachers in her ruling that, participating in an unlawful strike for an indefinite period essentially means one has retired from employment and warned that the employer can terminate their services with immediate effect.
Judge Wambura said there was no doubt the strike has inconvenienced the students’ curricula and has caused irreversible loss which is one of the good grounds for granting an injunction, and added that the procedures followed were conducted in bad faith and that the issued notice was invalid.