Ignoring teachers

2008-05-06 00:00

A sense that they are being treated fairly and that their loyalty is valued is vital in maintaining the morale of any workers. What are teachers, among them conscientious ones, feeling in the wake of the salary deduction debacle in the Department of Education?

When teachers went on strike last year, it was on the well-understood basis of no work, no pay. But not all teachers chose to go on strike — as is their democratic right. Now that the department is deducting salary for days not worked, it seems to be adopting a “one size fits all” policy. As a series of letters in the correspondence columns of this newspaper have indicated, the department seems to have taken no notice of attendance registers and affidavits from teachers who did not go on strike.

A letter published yesterday supplied some stark facts relating to Bergville Primary School, at which the staff acted as one. On days when the governing body declared the school closed because of threats of intimidation, the teachers signed in. On days when the school was open and pupils were writing mid-term exams, the teachers came to school, invigilated and marked the exams. The outcome? Two teachers have had no pay deducted, three lost 16 days’ pay and four had 23 days’ pay deducted (even although the strike actually lasted for 21 days).

In the face of all this, the Department of Education has maintained a deafening silence. What are ill-treated teachers to do? Go to the expense of getting a court interdict to force the department to pay them for the work they did?

What a way to treat employees and how not to boost morale and encourage loyalty to the teaching profession.

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