Government has reached an agreement with the leadership of the three teacher unions to pay them GHc1.5 million as part payment of the arrears owed.
The amount is to defray part of the about GHc16 million owed them.
The decision was taken after a marathon meeting with the Labour Ministry, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, Controller and Accountant General Department, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the Ghana Education Service today [Wednesday].
This is the third time the teacher unions have met with government after two previous meetings on Monday and Tuesday ended inconclusively.
The various teacher unions; the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) are demanding the payment of their salary arrears by February 29, or they will embark on a strike.
But both sides had to compromise on their earlier positions.
According to government, it will pay the rest of the of 2013 and 2014 arrears after a validation process which is expected to begin on Thursday.
Despite the decision taken today [Wednesday], the unions say they still stand by their February 29 deadline, pending the fulfillment of government’s latest promise.
We can’t meet teachers’ Feb. 29 deadline:
The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations Haruna Iddrisu, had confessed that government cannot meet the demands by the teacher unions before the end of February.
“The bottom line is that, government cannot meet the 29th February deadline of the groups. It is practically impossible given the volume of data that we need to process,” he said in a Citi News interview.
Haruna Iddrisu explained that although the grievances raised by the unions are legitimate, it cannot be solved before the end of February.
“I’m beginning to appreciate how enormous the problem has been, but the commitment is that, we will pay those we’ve recruited. But they will be paid only subject to validation of their data by the Auditor General. Outstanding allowances need to be processed, we need to discuss it further and the Minister of Finance will deal with it with the Controller and Accountant General,” he added.
Accusations and counter accusations
The Ghana Education Service (GES) had accused some of the teachers of faking their documents hence delaying the payments.
According to the GES, out of 14,575 input forms that were initially submitted by teachers for processing and payment, only 6,268 were found to be attached with genuine supporting documents.
The teacher unions responded by saying they are not to blame if some of the teachers have fake certificates and that the GES, which recruits teachers, should be blamed.
Some even called for the Director General Jacob Kor to be arrested for supervising the recruitment of these teachers.
By: Kojo Agyeman/citifmonline.com/Ghana