The Ghana Education Service (GES) is shocked at the decision by three teacher unions to embark on a strike on Monday over supposed delays in the payment of their arrears.
According to GES, the industrial action declared by the teachers is illegal and ‘grossly an abuse of the principle of good faith and good working relations”.
The teacher unions — the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) declared a strike after suspecting that their arrears have been verified and approved for payment by the Controller and Accountant General’s internal audit unit, yet the monies have not been released.
But in a statement, the Service argued that it has held a series of meetings with the leadership of the teacher groups where it discussed the payment of the said arrears with the modalities involved adding that a December 5 ultimatum given by the teachers was not realistic.
“It is therefore with an utmost shock that management has learnt of the purported declaration of the strike and states that the conduct of the Union leaders is grossly an abuse of the principle of good faith and good working relations which have been established and nurtured over the years.”
“Management wishes to indicate that the strike cannot be legitimate, especially of personnel who are not owed any arrears of salary and call on all to remain and go about the normal duties as all efforts are being made to effect the payments to only deserving staff as soon as practicable,” GES added in the statement.
The statement indicated that critical scrutiny of the data presented by teachers showed anomalies which would have led to excess payment of about GHS 11,300,376.
It is on the back of this that, the GES directed that the data should be audited to verify the authenticity of the payments in order to ensure that only deserving staff are paid the right amounts of monies due them
Also, the Service alleged that, the teacher unions of walking out of a meeting with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations over the same issue.
“Management is of the view that public funds cannot be dissipated to undeserved persons and is working hard to clean the data to ensure that only deserved persons are paid by the Christmas as agreed with the conduct of the Union leaders at the meeting on December 2, 2019”, parts of the statement added.
Teachers deserve better
Although they claimed that the Ghana Education Service blamed the delay in releasing the monies on discrepancies in the verified data, the teachers say they deserve better.
President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Philippa Larsen at their press conference maintained that:
“We are not prepared to see our teachers suffer as a result of somebody’s negligence. Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears and the status quo remains. We cannot continue to tolerate this. Indeed, for how long shall they ignore our members. The teachers – the purveyors of education, don’t expect us to continue to look on. We can’t stand this. In light of this development, the Ghana National Association of Teachers, National Association of Graduate Teachers, Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana, do hereby today [Thursday] declare a strike by our members effective Monday 9th December 2019.”