Close to 9000 teachers of the francophone subsystem of education in Cameroon, have gone on strike in a dispute about non-payment of salaries, bringing the streets of Yaounde to a standstill.
The teachers, under a union known by its French appellation as “collectif des enseignants indignes du cameroun” had issued a strike notice letter on February 27 outlining their grievances for over three years.
The main cause of discontent the teachers say, is the non-payment of salaries, the slow integration of salary grade review, and integration of part time teachers into the system and the revalorisation of documentation and research allowances. According to the teachers, government’s unwillingness to make teacher’s plight priority smacks volumes of bad faith. “We have noticed regrettably that teachers must always go strike to obtain their due. Why are teachers always neglected and why is the government coffers always empty when it’s time to pay teachers” the strike notice letter read. The teachers equally pointed out that the minister of finance is still unable to pay salaries till date even after announcing that payments will be due in October 2016.
Ernest Massena Ngalle Bibehe, secondary education minister had reacted to the teachers strike notice, promising to personally follow up with finance minister in order to ensure the teachers concerns are diligently treated. He had equally promised to bring the concerns raised by the teachers to the attention of the inter-ministerial ad-hoc committee responsible for finding lasting solutions to teachers’ problems in Cameroon.
Bibehe blamed the aforementioned concerns on the dysfunctioning of Cameroon’s operation antelope application whose validity has been wanting for eight months now. Operation Antelope is one of Cameroon’s software systems in managing human resource and state’s balance sheet.
However, Monday’s strike action is proof that the secondary education boss did not meet up with the expectations of the teachers.