The National- Friday, January 28, 2011
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
TEACHERS in Southern Highlands have told the provincial government to pay them their mining allowances “or there will be no classes this year”.
There are 4,000 teachers in the province.
More than 100 of them gathered at the provincial headquarters building, Agiru Centre, yesterday in Mendi and demanded that they be paid these long overdue stipends.
The allowance was set at K400 a fortnight.
Their demands were contained in a petition, which came at a time when the provincial executive council was also discussing the provincial budget. Governor Anderson Agiru chaired the meeting.
The teachers also threatened that they would not return to their schools until they were paid their mining allowances.
Their demands for mining allowances had started when the first oil flowed out of Kutubu about 18 years ago. However, their pleas had fallen on deaf ears.
Spokesmen Bogom Inua and John Mono said this time they would not listen to the Teaching Service Commission, acting education secretary Dr Joseph Pagelio or the provincial government.
Inua, who holds a diploma in education and had been teaching in Southern Highlands for 40 years, said a teacher’s base salary of K400 was not enough to cater for a family’s needs in these times of sky-rocketing prices.
He said an expected salary increase, based on a memorandum of agreement signed last year, was not effected yesterday.
Mono expressed similar sentiments.
He warned that schools in the province would not resume classes until their demands were met.
Attempts to get comments from the provincial education adviser were unsuccessful.