Teacher Unions Split over Strike Action

The leadership of the various teacher unions representing teachers who are presently on strike over some arrears that were accrued between 2012 and 2016 are divided over the latest action.

Part of the leadership of the three unions, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) feel that issues are being overly politicized.

The division was because the government was trying to clear what was accrued at the time it was not in office.

Apart from the division among the leaders, certain members are claiming that their leadership was more or less blackmailing the government.

In what appears to be bad faith, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has come out to expose the unions with claims that negotiations were going on to clear the arrears.

The unions’ members are worried as to why their leaders would not fight for them between 2012 and 2016 but have decided to fight the very government that was working to settle them.

The GES in its statement said, it was shocked at the decision by three teacher unions to embark on a strike on Monday over supposed delays in the payment of their arrears.

According to GES, the industrial action declared by the teachers is illegal and ‘grossly an abuse of principle of good faith and good working relations”.

The teacher unions — the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) declared a strike after suspecting that their arrears have been verified and approved for payment by the Controller and Accountant General’s internal audit unit, yet the monies have not been released.

But in a statement, the Service argued that it has held a series of meetings with the leadership of the teacher groups where it discussed the payment of the said arrears with the modalities involved adding that a December 5 ultimatum given by the teachers was not realistic.

“It is therefore with utmost shock that management has learnt of the purported declaration of the strike and states that the conduct of the Union leaders is grossly an abuse of the principle of good faith and good working relations which have been established and nurtured over the years.”

“Management wishes to indicate that the strike cannot be legitimate, especially of personnel who are not owed any arrears of salary and call on all to remain and go about the normal duties as all efforts are being made to effect the payments to only deserving staff as soon as practicable,” GES added in the statement.

The statement indicated that, a critical scrutiny of the data presented by teachers showed anomalies which would have led to excess payment of about GHS 11, 300,376.

It is on the back of this that, the GES directed that the data should be audited to verify the authenticity of the payments in order to ensure that only deserving staff are paid the right amounts of monies due them
Also, the Service alleged that, the teacher unions walked out of a meeting with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations over the same issue.

“Management is of the view that public funds cannot be dissipated to undeserved persons and is working hard to clean the data to ensure that only deserved persons are paid by the Christmas as agreed with the conduct of the Union leaders at the meeting on December 2, 2019”, parts of the statement added.

Those present at the December 2, 2019 meeting included Mrs. Gifty Apanbil, Deputy General Secretary, who was acting as General Secretary of GNAT at the time, Mr. Thomas Moussa, newly elected General Secretary of GNAT, Mr. Eric Carbonu, NAGRAT President and Ms. Vida Agyemang, Women’s Organizer of CCT,

At that meeting, management of GES and the teacher unions agreed that data for teachers should be vetted and only those eligible for payment should be paid with the right amounts paid.

Again, it was agreed that all efforts were to be made to finish the vetting and the personnel involved paid the right amounts before Christmas.

It was also agreed that the earlier indicated deadline of December 5, 2019 could not be realistic.

Source: ghananewsonline.com.gh 

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