This follows referral of the matter to the Commission by the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations in Accra yesterday.
The two parties were expected to reconvene at 2:00 pm yesterday to continue deliberations after a similar meeting on Monday ended inconclusively.
Speaking to the Ghanaian Times yesterday, General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Mr Thomas Musa said, the unions were unfazed by the decision to refer the matter to the Commission adding that “we are prepared to go before the Commission and put in our defence and demands.”
He, however noted that the decision was in bad faith because the two parties had earlier agreed to continue deliberations to find a common ground.
“We did not expect this to happen at all. We were talking and engaging and as yesterday, the agreement was that we meet again and continue from where we ended on Monday.
The Ministry only refers such matters to the National Labour Commission when they have declared a deadlock. We have not reached there yet,” Mr Musa stated.
The unions, he said, were more shocked at the referral owing to the fact that the Ministry had earlier formalised the invitation to the Unions through a letter for further engagement.
He noted that the group had, despite the ongoing strike action, continued to engage the government for quick resolutions to their demands.
Mr Musa said the unions had so far tabled before the government 13 demands including the revocation of the appointment of the new Director-General of the Ghana Education Service(GES), Dr Eric Nkansah, payment of responsibility and car maintenance allowances, lower rank promotion challenges, review of the collective agreement, and delay in refunding GH¢44.55 to teachers.
He dismissed accusations that the unions were using students as a bargaining tool to seek their demands saying that “we are professional and ethical workers and we are parents as well. We will not jeopardise the future of our children.”
In earlier meeting on Monday, Deputy Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bright WirekoBrobbey, noted that the government was engaging constructively with the three teacher unions in a bid to end the current impasse.
“Although, we wished the strike was called-off today, we also understand that there is the need for further consultations for the desired outcome.
So we don’t have to take an entrenched position. We will meet here tomorrow to conclude the matter,” Mr Wireko-Brobbey added.
The leadership of three Teacher Unions, on October 4, asked its members to withdraw its services in all pre-tertiary education institutions as it embarks on an industrial strike action effective yesterday.
They include the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT-Ghana).
According to the three Teacher Unions at a press conference in Accra, the decision to embark on the strike action was due to government’s failure to heed to its call to terminate the appointment of Dr Eric Nkansah as the Director-General of the GES after the November 4 deadline ultimatum.
“It must be stated that the Director-General position is the preserve of Educationalists and has been occupied by Educationalists since its creation.
We have been compelled under the current circumstances to publicly communicate to Ghanaians on our intension to go on strike having reached the November 4 deadline we gave government”, President of the GNAT, Rev Isaac Owusu stated.
He noted that the appointment of Dr Nkansah, who was not an educationist, was contrary to the substantive and procedural rules of the Collective Agreement 2020.
President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu indicated that aside the termination of the appointment of the Acting Director-General of the GES and the extension of service of Mr Boateng, there were other pressing issues that were yet to be addressed.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS