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Teachers Abandon The Chalk Over Unresolved Grievances
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Teachers across the country have declared their intention to withdraw their services from today over unresolved grievances, including unpaid allowances.

The action was declared by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) at a joint press conference held at the Teachers Hall in Accra yesterday.

The press conference was dubbed “Strike Within Strike” and the teacher unions in the Ghana Education Service (GES) complained that some of their members had worked for many months but had received salaries for only three months.

The strike is within the ongoing strike called by 12 labour unions in the country.

Speaking on behalf of the three organisations, Mr M.V.K. Demanya, the acting General Secretary of GNAT, said teachers would remain on strike, even if public sector workers called off their strike, so long as teachers’ grievances remained unresolved.

He stated that the patience of the leadership of the teacher unions had been stretched beyond reasonable limits, while the agencies and individuals responsible for the resolution of the grievances had so far not shown any firm commitment to do so.

“As leaders of teacher unions, we believe we have exhausted all avenues in an attempt to resolve our grievances and yet no cogent solutions seem to have been found.

“We cannot sit down for Ghanaian teachers to be used as a subsidy to the national budget, hence the need for the strike," he explained.

Incremental credit arrears
Mr Demanya said almost four years into the implementation of the new pay policy; the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and the Public Services Commission had failed to come up with performance appraisal instruments.

"Apart from that, the FWSC also failed to comply with its own directive of using the salary grades and pay points of 2009 in effecting the migration of public servants from their existing salary structures onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS)," he stated.

He said the teacher unions felt cheated because they had been migrated onto the SSSS using their 2009 grades and pay points.

He said the Ministry of Finance had also failed to pay the incremental credit of their salaries, which the FWSC forwarded to the ministry.

Vehicle maintenance allowances
He said vehicle maintenance allowances for 2013 and 2014 were in arrears, adding, "For how long can an employee sustain the use of his own vehicle to render services to the government without the refund of the GH˘40 per month vehicle maintenance allowance?"

Mr Demanya said the government had come up with a directive to the Controller and Accountant-General to not pay more than three months’ salary arrears to teachers who were newly recruited, upgraded or re-engaged into the service and had worked for more than three months without salary.

The reason the government gave, he said, was that some of those appointments were not genuine.

Re-negotiation of collective agreement
He said the collective agreement (CA) between the GES, as the employer, and the teacher unions in the GES expired in November 2011.

He said GNAT engaged the GES management in a discussion and agreed that the monetary aspects of the CA be discussed with the FWSC, while the other aspects of the agreement were negotiated through the Standing Joint Negotiating Committee of the GES.

He said since that decision was taken, the committee had not been able to meet, despite several requests to the GES to live up to its mandate as expressed in the Labour Act (2003), Act 651.

"As a result of this, all the other issues, such as the payment of transfer grants, T&T and incremental credit arrears for 2011 and 2012, were not completed. All efforts to bring the parties back to the negotiating table have not been successful," he added.

Non-payment of grants
Mr Demanya said teachers had been transferred over the years without the payment of transfer grants, even though the teachers had honoured the transfers.

"All efforts by the unions to have the entitlements paid to deserving teachers have been misconstrued as the unions interfering in the day-to-day running of the GES," he said.
Source: Daily Graphic

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