Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr., is unhappy that issues which could have been dealt with by established institutions in the country, almost always needs the intervention of the President before such matters are resolved.
To him, the constant involvement of the presidency before any form of industrial action is ended amounts to institutional failure.
He was speaking on the decision by both the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) to suspend their nationwide strike action following a meeting with President John Dramani Mahama.
The two teacher unions, peeved with the Ghana Education Service management and Government, for what they describe as gross disregard for its concerns and a breach of trust, on March 15, 2013, held a joint news conference to declare indefinite industrial action to protest unpaid allowances and better conditions of service.
They identified non negotiation of new proposals of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, freezing of annual increments, non-payments of vehicle maintenance allowance and a delay in addressing outstanding issues as their major concerns.
They were subsequently joined by the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) and the Teachers and Educational Workers’ Union (TEWU).
According to them, government has taken teachers for granted for far too long, thus their members will not be convinced to stay in the classrooms if the leadership go back to “sing the same song” to them that government is keen on solving their problems.
The strike action, which lasted a week, brought activities to a halt in most schools particularly, the invigilation of the ongoing WASSSCE, with some school heads resorting to the use of non teaching staff such as cooks and artisans to invigilate.
Not even a directive from the National Labour Commission that government represented by the Fair Wages and Salary Commission (FWSC) sits with GNAT and NAGRAT to resolve their grievances and report to the Commission in seven days (the teachers were supposed to go back to the classroom as negotiations continued) could yield any dividends.
However, the leadership of the various striking teacher unions heeded to a plea by President Mahama, to suspend their strike after a meeting between them and the president at the Flagstaff House on Monday.
Speaking on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ Morning show, Kweku Baako said: “Presidential intervention implies institutional failure…”
According to him, there should be a structured format or a mechanism to ensure that those institutions do the work for which they are being paid for.
The seasoned journalist opined that had institutions such as the National Labour Commission (NLC) and the Fair Wages and Salary Commission (FWSC) done its work efficiently, it would not have necessitated any form of intervention from the President.
“Most often when the President meets with such groups, out of respect they oblige and agree to everything he says but the issues remain. But if the institutions will come in, the problems will be solved once and for all… What are we doing as a nation? If we have institutions which don’t work and the people in the institutions are also not working, we must do some sort of re-engineering to insist that they work. We have to wake up… I am sure the President in his hearts of hearts would have wished that he was not the one handling the issues; there are other matters calling for his attention,” he indicated.
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