Gov’t Must Prepare For More Strike Actions—-GNAT Hints

Mr. Johnny Akpakli, Greater-Accra Regional Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), has called on government to prepare for more strike actions since that was the language it understands.

He said the Association prefers to use strike as the last resort to make sure their grievances are addressed.

‘GNAT is not against strategies adopted by other unions to achieve their aims if they think that is the best, and so is GNAT,’ he said.

Mr. Akpakli said this during a press conference in Accra concerning issues affecting the welfare of teachers in the country.

Mr. Akpakli expressed regret at government’s response to the demands and grievances of workers, saying government only addresses workers problem after they threaten to embark on strike action.

This, he said, does not only undermine the collective bargaining process, but also weakens workers organizations.

The Greater-Accra Regional Chairman said, the promulgation of the Labour Act 2003 (Act 651) was aimed at ensuring industrial harmony, with the hope that incessant strikes and lock-outs would be things of the past.

However, the public sector management has still not come to terms with the new requirement under the new dispensation of industrial relations practice.

He said GNAT, in collaboration with other teacher unions, presented a number of issues to relevant authorities in November 2011, mentioning some of these issues as the undue delay in the re-negotiation of a new collective agreement between the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the teacher unions, the unilateral freeze on the annual salary increment of teachers in the service and the withdrawal of waiver on vehicle for teachers.

Also, the non-payment of vehicle maintenance allowances for teachers who are entitled to such allowances, the withdrawal of allowances for teacher-trainees in the various colleges of education in the country, and the delay in the implementation of the second tier pension scheme under the new pension reforms.

Mr. Akpakli said, series of meeting were held and decisions were taken on the issues for implementation, which was unduly delayed.

‘We are proposing timelines for the implementation of the decisions, which is contained in the communique issued after the representatives of the teacher unions and relevant authorities, signed by all stakeholders at the conference room of the Ministry of Education on 15th May 2014’.

He said, the GES Act 1995, (Act506) which re-established the service clearly states that teachers are the employees of the service, and therefore, there is no ambiguity as to who is the employer of teachers.

He added that, the Act has also made it clear as to how the second tier pension should be managed. However, the Association is not going to tolerate any delays in the implementation of the scheme.

Mr. Johnny Akpakli said ‘if by June 2014 the grievances of GNAT is not given any indication of government addressing them, the association would inform its members as to the actions that would be taken at the end of June 2014.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Gifty Apanbil, The Regional Secretary of GNAT, has called on the authorities to take up the matter on the foreign teacher who was killed in Ada.

She said government should make sure the laws deal with the perpetrator to serve as deterrent to others.

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