PRESS STATEMENT OF THE NATIONAL UNION OF GHANA STUDENTS (NUGS) ON THE NAGRAT AND GNAT INDUSTRIAL STRIKE ACTION
The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) wishes to call on the leadership of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) to humbly rescind their decision and go back to the classroom whilst they negotiate with government to respond to their calls on their salaries.
NUGS is very aware of the problems that exist within the educational sector, especially the need to adequately provide for our teachers who are core to the progress of education in this nation.
The Union sympathizes with the plight of the Ghanaian teacher, but also wishes to remind NAGRAT and GNAT that whilst justifiable reasons for the industrial strike action might exist, we are at a very key stage of the academic calendar where the WASSCE examinations have commenced and the BECE is less than three months away. End of term examinations are also about to be written.
On that note, NUGS wishes to appeal to teachers to please return to the classroom whilst leadership engages Government and other related agencies towards a speedy and amicable solution. When that fails, we can only assure NAGRAT and GNAT that NUGS would be far too willing to join them fight a justifiable war even if it means pouring out onto the streets in protests.
The Union also wishes to appeal to Government not to be lukewarm towards efforts aimed at meeting the demands of GNAT and NAGRAT. We urge Government to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to issues pertaining to labour agitation in Ghana. The issues as being raised by the leadership of the striking teachers were brought up quite some time ago, but it is only unfortunate that Government never saw it a priority to nip the issue in the bud.
As a Union we wish to recommend the possible formation of a body to address teacher grievances. We are firm in mind that there is work overload at the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission. We believe the body should be specifically tailored to meet the problems of teachers and that of the educational sector and as such would ensure speedy dispatch of problems that would arise.
The National Labour Commission has also been accused of partisanship and lacking the balls to bite. We believe no better opportunity beckons than this to confirm or deny these allegations.
NUGS also believes that the teachers have raised pertinent issues on their salary which needs urgent attention but we caution the leadership of GNAT and NAGRAT to be patient with the SSSS policy which is still on a pilot stage whiles they sit and renegotiate with Government, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and the West African Examination Council (WAEC) on their premium allowances and salaries in order to help resolve the issue permanently.
We further appeal to the Government of Ghana, the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to set up a working committee as soon as possible to look into the teachers’ call for a review of their retention premium after three years of the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and a renegotiation of the interim market premium, which is currently at 15 percent in order to calm tempers down.
(NUGS Education & Democratization Secretary)
ANDREWS KOFI GYAN