General News of Thursday, 12 December 2019
Striking teachers in the country have with immediate effect called off the strike commenced on Monday to demand payment of salary arrears from 2012 to 2016.
“We hereby wish to inform all our members to call off the nationwide strike action forthwith,” a statement issued Thursday morning by the leadership of the three teacher unions announced.
The latest decision followed Wednesday’s interim injunction secured against the teachers by the National Labour Commission which described the strike as illegal.
Leadership of GNAT, NAGRAT and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers –Ghana initially expressed their unwillingness to suspend the strike, but made a U-turn Thursday, stating it was based on the advice of their lawyers.
“This decision of the three teacher unions was arrived at on the advice of our lawyers in consequence to the court order dated Wednesday, December 11 … and as law abiding citizens, we do so forthwith,” the statement signed by General Secretary of GNAT Thomas T. Musah said.
Despite calling of the strike, the teacher unions say they have directed their lawyers to obtain copies of the court order and advise them “appropriately” on the way forward.
“Our next line of action would be communicated to the rank and file in due course,” the statement said, and thanked the teachers for their support and solidarity.
Declaring the strike at a news conference on December 5, the unions said their checks revealed that the arrears had been verified and approved for payment by the controller and Accountant General’s Internal Audit Unit about three weeks ago.
“However, we were informed that when the verified data was handed over to the GES for review, and action, the GES would not budge, because it claimed some discrepancies had been discovered with some of the payments already effected,” they claimed.
The unions disagreed with the GES on the so-called discrepancies and gave government up to December 5 to pay all the arrears due their members, but the government failed causing the teacher unions to embark on strike from December 9.
The NLC ordered the teachers to suspend the strike because in its view, it was illegal.
“The Commission in the exercise of the authority conferred on it by Section 139 (1)(b) of Act 651 finds the Associations’ action in violation of Act 651 and therefore the ongoing strike of the Unions is illegal,” it ruled.
But the teachers maintained their grounds, forcing the NLC to go to court on an ex-parte application to secure an injunction which compelled the teachers to end the strik.