Ghana: Teacher unions threaten strike over ‘unfavourable’ working conditions

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Dr. Yaw Adutwum
Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum

Ghanaian teacher unions in basic and pre-tertiary schools have threatened to lay down tools, citing unfavourable situations impeding academic activities in schools in the West African country.

The issues include teaching and learning resources, contact and working hours, upgrading of teachers, and issues regarding promotions.

Not only the above, but the groups also raised concerns about allowances, transfers, signing of performance contracts, and the refusal to appoint teachers in offices as heads and assistant heads of schools.

The teacher unions in question are the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT)

The threat comes at a time when teachers in tertiary institutions are also up in arms against government over poor conditions of service.

Read full statement from the Unions

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE PRE-TERTIARY EDUCATION UNIONS (GNAT, NAGRAT AND CCT-GH)

DATE: TUESDAY, 10TH AUGUST, 2021

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press.

We have assembled you here to tell you of the goings-on on the education front, as critical stakeholders of the education enterprise, as well as the reliable means by which the Ghanaian public would be informed of the said developments, to enable them make the consequent informed judgements on them.

Teaching and Learning Resources

In spite of the progress Ghana has made in improving access to education for all. there are still challenges inhibiting thousands of children. The authorities have failed to provide teachers and pupils with modern aids to teaching and learning. Such aids are means of improving the quality of teaching and learning. There are: no textbooks, school environment is not conducive for learning, classes are overcrowded, the payment of capitation grant and administrative resources are delayed, among others.

The poor quality of education is reflected in students’ results, especially at the first cycle institutions.

Contact and working Hours

The hours teachers are required to work per day and per week should be determined by the Ghana Education Service and the Teacher Unions as enjoined by the Collective Agreement. These include among others: the demands upon the time of the teacher imposed by participation in research, in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities in supervisory duties in addition to new changes in classroom delivery instructions as a result of COVID-19 pandemie. Unfortunately, the GES has not only increased the workload of teachers but also failed to compensate the affected teachers for all these.

Upgrading of Teachers

Another difficulty which is demotivating and demoralizing teachers is the slow pace by the GES to upgrade teachers who on their own, financed themselves to acquire degrees and those who have completed their study leave with pay.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media, it is pertinent to note that even with the teachers who have been upgraded, they were not paid on the effective or substantive dates they were upgraded. The disturbing issue is that some were given three (3) months arrears while majority received nothing.

Ladies and gentlemen, as we speak now, the employer seems not to be perturbed to pay the arrears and indeed taking us for granted. We can no longer neither stand nor tolerate this.

Responsibility Allowance

There are Teachers who hold various positions of responsibilities in our educational institutions who are entitled to responsibility allowances. Unfortunately, their allowances stopped when they were promoted to other ranks. Despite several efforts by the affected Teachers and the Teacher Unions, a greater number of these Teachers have not had their allowances restored.

The Teachers’ Promotion Crisis

The encounter of Teachers who sat for the just released promotion examination results has pressed a panic button in the lives of many a young teacher. There is every reason to worry. This incident has unreservedly provoked the rank and file of Ghanaian teachers. We deserve better treatment than the way we are being treated. Enough of the disrespect. It is deeply worrying and so demoralizing watching a professionally trained teacher weep uncontrollably in open camera for promotion. A country where there is no motivation and recognition for teachers definitely has a herculean problem.

Other Benefits/Allowances not being honoured

a) Car maintenance allowance

b) Rent advance

c) Allowance for teachers in deprived/difficult areas d) Additional duty allowance among others

Refusal to Appoint Teachers in the Offices as Heads and Assistants Heads

We do not understand why the GES has decided not to consider teachers working in the District and Regional Education Offices as Heads and Assistant Heads of Schools. The justification for this decision is not known to all stakeholders. We call for the suspension of the policy until a thorough discussion on the issue is done.

Transfer of Teachers in Special Schools

The Teacher Unions are surprised at the decision by the Management of the GES to transfer all Teachers teaching in special schools. The reason for this action is because of a problem that occurred in a single special school. The ramifications of a mass and nationwide transfer singling out one group of Teachers is not only discriminatory but also wrong. We call on GES to suspend the action.

Signing of Performance Contract

The GES has directed all Heads of institutions to sign a Performance Contract. This is unacceptable because the Unions do not know the details and the implications of the contract. We call on the Management of the GES to suspend the signing of the performance contracts until it has been discussed with the Unions.

Call to Action

We the Teacher Unions are hereby serving notice that if by the close of September 2021, all these issues are not resolved in full by the employer, then we will have no option than to advise ourselves in the best interest of our members within the framework of our Collective Agreement and the applicable Laws of Ghana.
We are by this same Conference apprising the National Labour Commission-NLC. of the development and intents, in case of failure of the GES. to address our concerns.

Ours is a noble task which must be done, and that is what we are just doing.

Thank you, and God bless our homeland Ghana!

Thomas T. Musah, General Secretary, GNAT

(0243532235)

Angel Cabonu, President, NAGRAT (0244665065)

King Ali Awudu, President, CCT-GH (0208967598)

DATE: TUESDAY, 10TH AUGUST, 2021

SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH

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