Call off strike – Labour Commission orders striking teacher unions

File photo: A female teacher teaching science to a classroom of students at a primary school, Ghana, West Africa, Africa

The National Labour Commission (NLC) has directed members of the three teacher unions to immediately call off their ongoing strike and restore full service.

This was contained in a directive issued by Andy Kwabena Amofa, Executive Secretary of the Commission — following a meeting between the teacher unions, the Ministry of Education, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the Ghana Education Service on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.

The striking unions namely the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers-Ghana(CCT-Gh), were, however, not present at the said meeting.

In the said directive the Commission held that the unions “failed to notify the NLC and its employer of the ongoing nationwide strike in contravention of Section 159 of the Labour Act 2003, Act 651”.

The Commission also “finds the Associations’ actions in violation of Act 651 and therefore the ongoing strike action is illegal”.

It, however, remains unclear whether leadership of the unions have been served copies of the directives since they were not present at the meeting.

Teacher Unions Vrs GES, MoE

The teacher unions declared a sit-at-home strike action in demand of their salary arrears.

The strike action by the members who are mainly teachers in pre-tertiary schools has affected the academic calendar negatively.

Some schools remained closed as the strike enters day two today.

Teacher Unions justify strike action

The striking teachers have indicated that they are ready to return to the classrooms if the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Education pay them after a review of their data currently ongoing.

But with about a week for schools to go on vacation, the teachers say, they have demonstrated enough patriotism and love for the country by their patience.

While day one of the strike did not witness the full commitment of all teachers, the General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Thomas Musah says the strike will gather momentum with time.

“So far so good, the reason is that we have heard of intimidation and other things. Today [Monday] was the first day and people made their own statements but our checks across the country gave us an indication that by Tuesday, everything will work well.”

Education Ministry explains delays in salary arrears

The Ministry of Education says the government has saved about GH¢11 million from reviewing the data of teachers expecting to be paid their salary arrears by the State.

According to the Ministry’s Head of Public Relations, Vincent Assafuah, the State would have paid money to undeserving staff if it was not diligent in conducting a review of the data of teachers who were expecting payment.

He said some of the teachers had data suggesting they were superior officers hence deserving of higher salaries, while others had inconsistent portfolios.

While appealing to the striking teachers to return to the classrooms, he urged them to corporate with the government as it goes through the necessary procedures to pay them.

“There were some teachers who had no data with the GES… By convention, there is a review that is done by the management of the GES when the Controller and Accountant General’s Department brings the data. We have done our review and we are saying that, if not by virtue of the due diligence that we had made at the GES office, government would have paid in excess of GH¢11 million,” he stressed.

By Jonathan Ofori, Daily Mail GH

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