Schools in Ghana closed as Labour Commission begins talks with striking teachers

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Talks are due to take place today (Tuesday) in a bid to avert strike action by teacher unions in Ghana, can report.

Three teacher unions —Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), NAGRAT and CCT-Gh, declared a sit-at-home strike Monday leaving pupils and parents stranded.

It follows a row over delay in the payment of what has been described as ‘legacy arrears’ owed by government.

The indefinite strike, is already affecting teaching and learning negatively.

In some of the schools visited in the Ashanti Region, most public basic schools have virtually been deserted as students wander around.

In the Bosomtwe District, the Aputuogya D/A Primary School and the Feyiase D/A Primary School have been closed down.

Teachers were, however, seen at the Junior High School blocks in these schools but were not doing active teaching.

There are fears the academic calendar could be affected.

But the National Labour Commission (NLC), however, said today’s meeting would inform the way forward.

“So as a commission, we are established to resolve issues on the labour front. We have invited them together with their employees in an attempt to settle whatever is wrong with them so that they can go back to their work. Whatever is due them will be paid to them as well,” said Mr Ofosu Asamoah, Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission.

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 cooperate 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.

Source: Daily Mail GH

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