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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

NLC appeals to teacher unions over strike action

NLC BOSS, Mr Ofosu Asamoah

The Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission (NLC) has appealed to all the four teacher unions who commenced a strike action on Monday to resume work.

Mr. Ofosu Asamoah said the appeal is to allow for negotiations between the teacher unions and government since the law does not permit negotiations while the unions are on strike.

Speaking on Top Story, Monday, Mr. Ofosu Asamoah noted the Commission has drawn the attention of the Education Minister, Labour and Employment Minister, the Director-General of Ghana Education Service and all other stakeholders involved for an immediate end to the industrial action.

“In the meantime, we are advising the teacher unions to rescind their decision and discontinue the strike and pave way for the process of engagement to ensue…In the classrooms, in the office, or wherever their duty demands them to be so that their concerns can be looked at.

“We sympathise with them at least when it comes to cost of living and all that, all of us are in Ghana and we know what is going on…in all these, they should also be looking at the laws and then what we can do within the space of time. The most important thing is that the government and its agencies would engage them and quickly solve the problem,” he told Evans Mensah.

Responding to why the NLC was silent over the several demands by the teacher unions for their COLA to be paid, Mr. Asamoah explained that the previous calls by the unions were just between government and the teachers.

According to him, the Commission could only get involved between the unions and government when “matters get out of hand”.

“It is not for us, for want of a better word, to be inquisitive and be going round to see what is happening elsewhere. We always expect that parties are able to negotiate on their issues and get a settlement.”

Although Mr. Asamoah acknowledges the right of the teacher unions to go on strike to press home their demands, he disagrees with the approach which he called an ‘unlawful strike’.

“They have a right to embark on a strike except that it must be a strike backed by law. Before you go on a strike, you must write to the National Labour Commission, you must write to your employers too declaring your intention to go on strike but not by a press conference…they have a right to go on strike but not by the means they have chosen this time around,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) says the teacher unions will only resume work when it is necessary.

The General Secretary of GNAT, Thomas Musah said “at any point in time when we need to get back, we will consult ourselves and take it up from there”.

Four teacher unions on Monday, July 4 declared an indefinite nationwide strike over demands for the payment of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

The unions, comprising the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT), are demanding that the 20% of their basic salary be paid to them.

“We can no longer bear the hardship. Even more so, we reject the inequality of salaries in the public services of this country. We have been compelled under the current circumstances to publicly communicate to Ghanaians on our intention to go on strike, having gone past the June 30, 2022 deadline [that] we gave government for the payment of the Cost of Living Allowance.

“Consequently, we have decided to embark on a strike action effective today, Monday, July 4, 2022. By this, we are informing the general public that we are withdrawing all our services in all the pre-tertiary education space – this includes teaching and non-teaching staff,” he announced.

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