Teachers in public schools are today scheduled to stage a countrywide strike to press the government fulfill their demands.
The Tanzania Teachers Union President, Gratian Mukoba stressed yesterday that the strike would go ahead, saying they were not threatened by the government.
Mukoba who granted an interview to The Guardian said even if the government forced teachers to report for duty, no work will be done.
“Teaching is a profession of one’s choice. Even if they are to force the teachers, if they don’t want to teach, no subject will be taught,” he said, adding: “You can take a donkey to the well, but you cannot force it to drink.”
Mukoba said their strike was legal and they have followed all the legal procedures in making the exercise fruitful.
As the TTU leader confirmed that the strike would go ahead, TTU Tanga regional operation committee emphasised that teachers in the region supported it.
“We want all teachers to stay home from July 30th today this year until further notice from the president of Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) Gratian Mukoba.
TTU in Tanga region insisted that the strike is legal arguing that there was no reason for members to be scared by threats issued by the government.
Chairman of the committee Sufiani Mussa said teachers have no reason to listen to any government officials at any level from the district, regional and national level.
“The strike is legal by law. Teachers are not supposed to be scared and they should not follow or listen to any statements from government officials,” he stressed.
For his part, the TTU Secretary in Tanga region Ndelamio Mangesho said 84 percent of teachers’ votes for yes in support of the strike.
Mangesho said out of 12,681 members who voted, only 164 said no out of 13,000 teachers present in the region.
He said teachers’ claims are divided into three groups in which one is for the additional salary by 100 per cent for beginning teachers, restoration of the payment of training allowances by 50 percent and 55 percent for teachers teaching science studies.
“Other claims are 30 per cent allowances of working in difficult environments’ in order to boost the morale of the teachers,” said the secretary.
TTU provided 30 days for the government to meet with them in order to discuss and negotiate their interests but the appointed mediator to solve the matter failed. The government also failed to come up with any answers to the TTU claims.
However, the strike contradicts with the government law according to the Deputy Minister of Education and Vocational Training Phillipo Mulugo who urged the teachers to call off their strike, saying the matter was still in court.
He also warned that any teacher who will take part in the strike will have violated the order and legal actions will be taken against him or her.
He instructed all education inspectors in all districts to inspect all schools and take note of teachers attending school and those who have not for further action.