NAGRAT Declares Strike
NAGRAT has therefore directed all its 25,449 members across the country to stay out of the classroom in protest of government’s insensitivity towards teachers.
The Association has also declared its intention to embark on a mammoth demonstration on May 20 in Kumasi, which will be joined by members from both Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo Regions, supported by members of the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT).
Announcing the strike action yesterday at a press conference in Sunyani, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Chairman of NAGRAT, Jacob Anaba, chastised the Minister of Education, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman, over what he described as her ‘anti-teacher policies’ which have worsened the plight of Ghanaian teachers in general.
NAGRAT raised a number of issues leading to its action. The members accused government for failing to address them after countless engagements saying, ‘We have tried to adopt dialogue as a means to resolve them but we have not witnessed a commitment on the part of the employer to amicable resolution.’
Prominent among the issues raised by NAGRAT are the poor handling of the Second Tier Pension issues of Ghana Education Service (GES) workers; government’s refusal to pay incremental credit arrears; the new Three Months’ Arrears Policy; the GES staff rationalization and non-payment of transfer grants to teachers.
NAGRAT stated with regret that government had refused to operationalize the Second Tier new Pension Scheme, even though all the teacher unions namely, GNAT, NAGRAT and TEWU, had gone through all the necessary processes for its full implementation since the enactment of the new Pension Law, Act 776 of 2008 and the subsequent inauguration of the new Pension Scheme in 2010.
According to NAGRAT, government has refused to remit the accounts of the scheme money deducted from teachers’ incomes over the past four years and even those currently being deducted in order to pave the way for the selected fund managers to properly invest the funds for good returns.
‘The implications of this feet dragging attitude is that next year our colleagues who will be retiring under the new scheme stand to lose a lot as their contributions have not been professionally handled and invested in appropriate portfolios,’ Mr. Anaba stated.
Non-Payment Of Incremental Credit Arrears
NAGRAT has served a notice to government that Ghanaian teachers would never forgo the 2011-2012 incremental credit arrears, and would use every legitimate means available to make good the earlier promise by government to pay them.
Three Months’ Arrears Payment Policy
The association called on the government to immediately halt the three months’ arrears payment policy since it is ‘too brutal, too oppressive and indeed worker unfriendly.’
According to NAGRAT, the policy introduced by the government in 2013 to pay not more than three months of arrears that go beyond three months, would further worsen the plight of the already suffering teacher.
It advised government to improve data processing mechanism at the GES and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department so as to ensure speedy processing of salaries and allowances.
Insensitivity Of Education Minister
The teachers expressed disappointment in Prof Opoku-Agyeman in the number of alleged anti-teacher policies being spearheaded by her.
‘Since she came to the Ministry, teachers have not seen any single teacher-friendly policy being pursued by the Ministry. All we hear is accusation of teachers left, right and centre, for all that goes wrong with teaching and learning,’ NAGRAT observed.
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FROM Fred Tettey Alarti-Amoako, Sunyani
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