Teachers to decide on strike action today

•   Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang — Education Minister

• Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang — Education Minister

Three teacher unions in the country will today, decide whether or not they will consummate an intended industrial action threatened by them a fortnight ago.

The unions made up of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) threatened to embark on the action if government failed to make full payment of their salary arrears and other allowances by the end of last month February.

They had earlier met with government in three consecutive meetings during negotiation last week and had reached an agreement to produce validation data for payment.

In a communique signed by both parties, government agreed to clear all salary arrears and other allowances subject to the validation and further promised to release GH¢ 1.5 million for the payment of 2012 outstanding allowances for teachers with immediate effect.

However, speaking to The Ghanaian Times yesterday, the General Secretary of GNAT, David Ofori Acheampong, said the unions would evaluate the validation exercise last night to determine whether to continue with the action today or call it off.

Meanwhile, at a joint press conference, organised by the unions last Tuesday, the president of NAGRAT, Mr. Christian Addai-Poku, intimated that the unions were dissatisfied with government’s handling of the payment.

According to him, government had shown bad faith as some of its communicators continue to throw dust into the eyes of the public concerning the number of teachers due for payment and other related issues.

For instance, he said, government was wrong to have said that it had released GH¢1 million to clear all outstanding arrears when it rather owed the teachers GH 16 million for only car and maintenance allowances alone.

Mr. Addai-Poku said it was also misplaced for government to describe their threats as lacking basis while calling some of its members fake because it perceived them of using fake certificates.

However, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR), Mr. Haruna                                                                                                                    Iddrisu, said plans were far advanced to pay the teachers soon hence they should exercise restraint as institutions with supervisory role work assiduously to make payment.

He said the government team led by the MELR supported by the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service (GES), Ministry of Finance, the Audit Service, Fair Wages and Salary Commission and Controller and Accountant General’s Department had responded to some concerns raised by the unions at the negotiation table.

Mr. Iddrisu said the Controller and Accountant General’s Department would process supplementary payment in accordance with the validated data.

 By Charles Amankwa   

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