THE government has clarified that it has continued to pay attention to teachers’ welfare while complying with court order that requires it (the government) to hold negotiations with them.
A statement issued by the State House Directorate of Communication in Dar es Salaam said that the government refuted claims that it refused to negotiate with the Tanzania Teachers’ Union (TTU).
“We would like to inform the public that all these claims have no element of truth and have no good intention whatsoever.
“This can easily instill hatred and instigate another crisis between the teachers and the government, which have no justification or benefits to neither the teachers nor the nation,” the statement said.
The statement further explained that the government has not refused to have dialogue with TTU and that it has not ignored the court order which required both parties to return to the negotiating table. Since the court issued the order already four joint council meetings have been held to discuss teachers’ employment concerns.
Two of the meetings were held last year on September 12 and December 5. Also two other meetings have been held this year on January 9-10 and March 22. On Tuesday, April 9, 2013 the president of TTU, Mr Gratian Mukoba, was quoted by sections of the media, including Mwananchi, that the government was welcoming another strike.
According to the newspaper, Mr Mukoba claimed that the government refused to negotiate with TTU on teachers’ salary increase and allowances despite TTU’s willingness to conduct talks. He claimed further that the government has ignored the court order which wanted both parties to negotiate on the teachers’ claims.
He cited a particular meeting that declined to hold talks on salaries and allowances was the one which was held on April 2, 2013 under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Ambassador Ombeni Sefue.
Mr Mukoba has asked for the Parliament and parents’ intervention on the government’s decision to refuse negotiations on the matter with TTU. As meetings continue, the government has already said that there will be good increments, in the next financial year, on all civil servants’ salaries, especially those in the low ranks.
The government has further clarified that what had delayed negotiations was not because the government did not want that discussion. “The reason was that TTU appealed against the court ruling in case number 96/2012, and the government cautioned the Union leaders to rescind the appeal to enable negotiations to go continue, but they refused.
This did not signify good faith on their part. Good faith is an important condition in these negotiations,” noted the statement. The statement further said that in order to show readiness and good faith, the government has accepted to go on with the negotiations even as TTU has refused to withdraw its appeal in court.
The second reason for delay of negotiations, according to the statement, are earlier claims by TTU that a fresh team should be formed to discuss this issue instead of the collective negotiations council which is legally instituted to handle the matter on behalf of the teachers.
The government added that it was at a meeting on January 9 to 10th this year, when they agreed to return to the negotiations. “It is not true that a State House meeting chaired by Chief Secretary on April 2 this year was the one that suspended the negotiations,” the statement said, adding that such a statement was deliberately misleading and not in good faith.
“TTU leaders know well that the Chief Secretary is not part of the negotiations framework,” said the statement. According to the statement, a meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary could not be part of negotiations on teachers’ salaries and allowances.
The meeting on April 2 this year called by the Chief Secretary was requested by Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) who wanted to be informed on discussions on all workers’ taxes which would be handled following the approval of a new budget system. The public should know that Mr Gratian Mukoba was not present at that meeting as the meeting was for TUCTA and not TTU, according to the statement.