A former acting National President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Mr Alexander Mawusi Buadi, has said that a core value of the association is its uncompromising non-political stance.
He, therefore, entreated members of the association to maintain a united front at all times to avoid its possible manipulation by politicians.
Mr Buadi was speaking at the 6th Quadrennial District Delegates Conference of GNAT in Ho on Wednesday.
The event was under the theme: GNAT @ 90: Surviving as a Reliable and Vibrant Teacher Union in the 21st Century; Improving the Working Conditions and Welfare Management of the Teacher.
Mr Buadi, who was the guest speaker, noted that governments all over the world had the tendency of breaking vibrant trade unions because they regarded the unions as threats to their political interests.
“And so, they employ various strategies such as wooing the leaders of the unions, setting the union members against their leaders and master-minding the formation of splinter groups,” he added.
Mr Buadi highlighted the role of GNAT as a major stakeholder in education, saying the association’s prescribed roles and functions required total political neutrality.
Meanwhile, the former acting National President of GNAT, acknowledged some of the achievement of the association with regards to increases in the salaries of teachers, the introduction of distance education programmes, study leave with pay quota system and sandwich programmes, among others but said there was still more to be done to safeguard the trade union rights of teachers.
For instance, he pointed out that teachers were posted to wherever their services were needed and that made them a huge market for landlords.
For that matter, rent allowance for teachers could be looked into to enable them to meet their obligations with their landlords smoothly.
Mr Buadi touched on the Teachers’ Fund which was established in 1998 with its subsidiaries and said that it was providing a handsome pension package for teachers in terms of lump sum payment.
He announced that the fund made a profit of GHS147 million in 2019, adding that it could be transformed into Teachers’ Bank.
Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza, Member of Parliament for Adaklu, who was the guest of honour, lauded teachers for their strong sense of patriotism and said that they deserved decent working conditions and other forms of support to serve everywhere in the country.
FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO