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The Northern Regional President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr. Lordson Afedo has hinted that teachers and education sector workers would strike if by Monday 20th July, 2009 government fails to reverse the slashing of allowances; as per Ghana Education Service letter dated 6th May, 2009 signed by the Director-General of the GES.

NAGRAT also wants the government to stop playing hide and seek with the ongoing salary negotiations, if it is to forestall industrial peace, according to Afedo.

Mr. Afedo said if issues relating to promotions at GES are not addressed speedily, the possibility of a nationwide industrial strike is very high considering governments? response with regards to issues of education workers.

Mr. Afedo told Public Agenda that "We will advise ourselves accordingly. Leadership cannot continue to restrain teachers from embarking on any action to seek fair treatment by their employers."

According to him, teachers in particular and workers generally are convinced that the GES Council and Government do not mean well for workers. "It is apparent that even the Labour Commission no longer has teeth to bite. It is now too tongue-tied to advise" Mr. Afedo added.

He noted that, the Employment Minister's conduct regarding the on-going negotiations on salaries has not helped matters either. "While he was silent on what government was offering workers, he was whipping up public sentiments against labour by putting their proposal in the public domain. "Why did he not mention the 10% that the government was offering labour as salary increase?"

He told Public Agenda the least said about insulting attitudes of government's negotiation team, the better. He said, whiles government invited labour from all over the country to continue negotiations, a ten-man delegation was sent to inform labour that the government side did not have the mandate to negotiate. "We in NAGRAT take this as an insult to labour."

According to him, the salary increase to be agreed on was to be paid by the end of July, 2009 and all outstanding arrears resulting from the negations paid at the end of August, but added that the attitude of the government team indicates they are in to derail the negotiations.

He also disclosed that since April this year, quarterly grants to Educational Institutions have been slashed by a whooping 51.8% while all allowances paid to educational institutions have been reduced by over 70%. One of the causes of strike actions by teachers since 2001 has been the low level of allowances.

He asked, "If the conditions of service for workers and teachers cannot be improved, why not keep the allowances at the old rates, so that teachers particularly know that government has nothing new to offer them?"

He told this reporter that, the silence of those in authority seems to suggest that the proposal has gone down well with them. "Nobody has given any indication of agitation. Everybody is waiting to see what teachers will do and then the blame game begins. Where is the Labour Commission? Where is the GES and its Governing Council? He landed

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