GNAT to meet legal team over court order

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By
Benjamin Adamafio Commey/Abdulai Haruna, GNA

Accra, Dec. 11, GNA
– The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) says its leadership will
meet with its legal team to discuss the court order directing the teacher
unions to call off their strike over the payment of legacy arrears.

The National Labour
Commission, on Wednesday, secured a court order directing the three teacher
unions under the Ghana Education Service: GNAT, National Association of
Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) to
call off their nationwide strike and order their members to return to the
classroom.

But reacting to the
directive by the Court in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr
Daniel Affadu, the Deputy General Secretary in-charge of Administration and
Labour Relations, said the leadership of the Association would soon hold
deliberations on the directives to see the next line of action.

“The leadership is
out of the jurisdiction, so I will find a way and communicate with them and
sermon a meeting. We will talk to our legal team and then we will take it from
there,” he said.

“Some engagement
will take place and some decisions will be made, so I cannot say whether the
strike will continue or not.”

He, however,
expressed disappointment in the Labour Commission for going ahead to secure the
order, saying it was a sign of bad faith on the part of the Government as they
were still at the negotiating table to find an amicable solution to the
impasse.

“We are highly
disappointed,” he stated. “Government has not shown good faith because we were
negotiating.

“We thought that we
could all sit on the table and talk; but if they have gone ahead to seek this,
we are a bit disappointed that the government is using its powers to bully the
innocent poor union workers,” he said.

On Thursday,
December 5, the three teacher unions declared a nationwide strike, which took
effect on Monday, November 9, over what they term as legacy arrears owed to
some of their members from 2012 to 2016.

The strike has seen
more than 300,000 member s of the Unions boycotting academic work leaving their
students in pre-tertiary public schools stranded.

The NLC, in a
statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Andy Kwabena Asamoah, and copied to the
Ghana News Agency, explained its position: “On December 5, this year, NLC
invited the representatives of Ghana Education Service (GES), Ministry of
Education and Fair Wages and Salary Commission, NAGRAT, GNAT and Coalition of
Concerned Teachers CCT to appear before it to resolve the impasse relating to
‘Legacy Arrears’ of the said three Unions, which had culminated in a threat of
strike.

 “The Unions failed to appear before the
Commission and to call off their threatened strike, which was to take effect
from the 9th of December this year.

“Having disobeyed
the directive of the NLC issued together with its letter summoning the parties
to appear before it on 10th of December 2019.

“The NLC then
proceeded to Court for an order of interlocutory injunction against the three
unions”.

 Thus the Court, presided over by Mrs Justice
Ananda J.Aikins, in granting the NLC’s request stated: “It is hereby ordered
that the respondents herein, whether by themselves, their executives, officers,
members, agents, servants, employees or other persons, are to comply with
directives of the National Labour Commission dated on December 5, 2019.

“It is further
ordered that the respondents are restrained from further continuing any strike
action.”

The Court said the
order shall remain for a period of 10 days after which same might be repeated
on notice.

Meanwhile, the GES,
in its statement reacting to the declaration of the strike on December 5, said
the arrears originally affected 120,232 of its staff.

The statement,
signed by the Director- General, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, said it had
paid 87,556 of the original beneficiaries, whose claims had been vetted and
approved had been paid as of September 2019. 
   

The statement added
that the GES was in the process of validating the claims presented to it by the
Auditor-General’s Department to clear some anomalies detected.

“On 9th November
2019, Management of the Ghana Education Service received another set of data
from the Controller and Accountant General covering 1,847 personnel who were to
be paid their salary arrears.

“A close examination
of the data indicated the following anomalies, which would have led to an
excess payment of about GH¢11,300,376.

“Some of the
personnel were to be paid undeserved ranks. Some of the names had no personal records
on the GES payroll from 2012 2014 to establish that they could be owed arrears
over that period.

“Some of the listed
personnel were not owed any salary arrears and yet had been credited with huge
sums of money and in some case up to GH¢58,000.00.

“Some female
personnel were to be paid night watchmen allowances when they have never been
night watchmen with the GES.

“Some staff who were
owed by six months have been credited for only two months.”     

The GES, therefore,
asked its teaching staff to report to work as usual.

The Unions, however,
stated that none of the anomalies identified were caused by the beneficiaries
so they should not suffer for it.

The GES, they said,
should go ahead to authorise payment and sort out the issues with the Controller
and Auditor-General’s Internal Audit Department.

GNA

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