By Olimatou Coker
Following the uproar that greeted the planned new grading system of the government pay scale among teachers who complained it did not favour them, the Gambia Teachers’ Union yesterday reported its findings of the matter. Addressing a press conference at the GTU secretariat in Kanifing, Essa Sowe, deputy general secretary, said the Union had received several calls from its membership drawing its attention to some ‘disparities’ in a purported “final report of the job evaluation for pay and grading for civil service. This was triggered by an initial analysis trending on social media pointing out that teachers and education officials were disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in a particular sector within the Establishment. Our WhatsApp pages were inundated with tons of comments coupled with two petitions directed to the GTU from Teachers For Change (TFC) and No to Teachers’ Exploitation (NTE), respectively”, Sowe said.
According to him, the leadership of the GTU investigated the matter and their
findings are as follows: “Teachers and education sector personnel were united in the call for redress. We found out that there are 4 pay scale options developed: Option ‘A’ has a starting salary of D19,613 per annum with 10 grades, 6 increments, and standard increase/increment of 5% within and between scales; Option ‘B’: has a starting salary D23,328 per annum with 10 grades, 6 increments, and standard increase/increment of 5% within and between scales, Option ‘C’ has a starting salary of D25,488 per annum with 10 grades, 6 increments, and a standard increase/increment of 5% within and between scales, Option ‘D’ has a starting salary of D36,000 per annum with 11 grades and standard increase/increment of 5% within and between grades 1-5 and 3% between grades 6-11.”
He revealed that they have confirmed that Option ‘D’ is the version approved by Cabinet. “For emphasis, an integrated pay scale has been approved by Cabinet but the development of the grading structure is in progress,” Mr Sowe said.
He said that they also reviewed the claims about the alleged degrading of teachers’ pay comparatively against a particular sector, but they have confirmed that this is not the case.
“On the contrary, the teaching job has been given an added relative value both laterally and horizontally. It was apparent that all the analyses we saw, were a comparison of the proposed new grading structure for teachers against the current scale for the sector in question. This is misleading and erroneous. We have found out that according to the Generic Pay and Grading Implementation Plan for ministries/institutions, PMO is yet to meet MoBSE to share their final input by reviewing the suitability or otherwise to address their own needs and circumstances”, Mr Sowe said.
The GTU official said their conclusion is that an integrated pay scale with a starting salary of GMD 36,000 per annum with 11 grades + standard increase/increment of 5% within and between grades 1-5 and 3% between grades 6-11 has been approved by Cabinet and that work is in progress and as such, the draft grading structure for the teaching cadre is subject to MoBSE’s input but as it stands, there is relatively value added in consideration of the teaching job. “MoBSE has not yet submitted its data requested by PMO to initiate the final review. We would like to reassure our membership and the general public that the Union will continue to fulfill its moral obligations and duty to the profession and country at all times,” Mr Sowe said.
He advised all members to desist from circulating unconfirmed information regarding issues affecting them and instead direct all their inquiries to their Union adding that Members should continue with their normal business while the Union engages with MoBSE to ensure the required data is provided to PMO to finalize the draft pay structure for the teaching cadre.