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NO WORK-NO PAY: 20 CHARGED, STILL COUNTING

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MBABANE – About 20 teachers may not get paid this month. This is if the charges laid against them are anything to go by. Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini said his organisation had been approached by 20 teachers so far to relay that they were being charged with misconduct.


He said the complaints brought by members of his association, about charges they were facing at school, had increased significantly.
Dlamini said some of the reports were still informal as their branches were still to communicate with his office.


“There are so many teachers who are reporting challenges they are facing at schools and the charges levelled against them.”


Strike


The charges are subsequent to a number of teachers claiming that they have been coerced into signing the strike spot checking tool form, that was distributed by the Ministry of Education and Training through the offices of Regional Education Officers (REOs).


This form, according to the ministry, was an instrument used to monitor the attendance of teachers, following the high number of activities organised by SNAT members in recent weeks.


It was distributed after teachers after members of SNAT engaged in union activities during working hours. The activities that were hosted by the association started after a proposed strike action by SNAT was deferred to November 23, 2018.


The strike action was means by the union to get government’s attention so that a better offer in the cost-of-living-adjustment (CoLA) was tabled. Public Service Associations (PSAs) are seeking a 6.55 per cent CoLA, while government has been offering zero per cent.


Dlamini said there were reports that some teachers were facing as high as 11 counts of misconduct. He doubted that the charges that were being preferred against the teachers had anything to do with the recent activities organised by the association.


“That would be illegal as we have an agreement with government through the recognition agreement.”
On Tuesday, the unionist said SNAT had received about seven complaints from their members, who were complaining that their head teachers demanded that they be signatory to the strike spot checking forms.


He said by yesterday, many had come forward stating that they were being reported absent from work and attending the association’s activities, while they were present.
“I am still handling the matter and hope to have a tallied up figure before our extraordinary meeting next week.”


Meanwhile, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Training Dr Sibongile Mtshali said they were still computing the data collected through the use of the forms. She said some of the REOs had already submitted the forms to the chief inspector, while others were still being collected from the various schools.


“We have no total figure yet,” she said.
Dr Mtshali further said the ministry would deal with those who were not going to work once everything was in order.

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