Togo: The government remains firm, the SET retreats to rebound better

The Togolese Teachers ‘Union (SET), which has taken over the teachers’ union struggle, has just pulled back. On Wednesday, the movement admitted that it was mistaken in the steps leading to its creation and ordered the temporary suspension of the strike of January 28 and 29. The SET intends to hold a constitutive general assembly at the beginning of February before relaunching the fight for the well-being of teachers. An attitude that follows the firmness shown by the Togolese government vis-à-vis the movement.

In just a few weeks, the SET has cast a wide net, especially on the ruins of its predecessors. This trade union movement has promised teachers to have their special status applied by the government in order to offer them better living and working conditions.

SET quickly issued strike orders to urge the government to implement the special statute including

But the first officials of the SET were arrested and prosecuted. One of the movement’s advisers was even thrown in prison in Kara. The subject has generated much debate over the past week. The arrested teachers were eventually released but placed under judicial supervision.

On Wednesday, the college of prefectural delegates and members of the National Office of the SET asked “the base that owns the power” to accept to make a sacrifice for the survival of the SET.

Indeed, the college of delegates explains that the first officials of the SET are under judicial supervision and no longer have the right to sign letters. He notes that the strike notice was signed by the Secretary General of the SET who is currently under judicial supervision, which cancels the notice.

“Considering that the college of delegates, not being a signatory of this notice, requests the following at the base: a temporary suspension of the strike of January 28 and 29, 2021; organization of a constitutive General Assembly (physical GA) from the first weeks of February for the formation of the BN; mobilization of funds giving rise to membership and preparation of membership cards as quickly as possible, ”writes this SET body.

Union members believe this is not an abdication but a way to step back and bounce back better.

Government reaction

This new attitude of SET follows the clarifications and explanations provided by the government through the ministers of the civil service and social dialogue as well as primary and secondary education. The 2 ministers detailed the advantages and privileges granted to teachers. Gilbert Bawara asserted in his interventions that the special statute was already in force and in application and had issued warnings against attempted disruption.

The Minister of Civil Service also noted the confusion and doubts surrounding the status of SET. He wondered if it was a trade union or an association given the formalities that the organization’s officials had initiated. Mr. Bawara doubted the representativeness of the SET within the meaning of the 1991 decree relating to the exercise of the right to strike in the public services. The SET did not hold a constitutive general meeting.

The college of SET delegates thus admit irregularities in the creation of their organization and prefer to waive the strike notice. The time to correct things for the survival of the union.

“This retreat is to the credit of the firmness of the government but also confirms the amateurism and the improvisations of the leaders of this organization. They seem not even to have taken care to inform themselves about the particular statute already in application and the progress obtained by the central unions and the federations of teachers’ unions within the framework of the discussions already underway with the authorities ”, commented a member of the Togolese government.

We learn that at the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, requests for an explanation are being prepared against certain teachers for their “outrageous messages on platforms and social networks, contrary to the rules and principles governing the profession of teacher ”and public service texts.

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