by;brightwebtv/nana asare barimah
The Volta Regional Chapter of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has said it will not comply with the National Labour Commission’s (NLC) directive to them to call off their nationwide strike.
The teachers last week declared the strike over the nonpayment of salary arrears and delayed promotions.
Speaking to Citi News, the Volta Regional Chairman of NAGRAT, David Gelley reiterated that only a directive from its National Executive council or concrete steps from government towards having their needs addressed will take them back to the classroom.
“As we speak now, we are still on strike in the Volta Region. It is true that the leadership met with NLC last week Wednesday and ordered that we go back to classrooms yet our grievances were not addressed. At the said meeting we expected that NLC will also order the government to do the right thing by putting us on the right skill since we all have promotion issues.”
“We thought it was not in our interest and so we are still on strike. My visit to some schools and correspondence with other chairmen proves that no teacher is going to be anywhere until our issues are addressed. Meanwhile, any decision that is taken with NAGRAT is taken by what we call the National Executives Council and the Council has not met.”
Finance Ministry’s order
The Finance Ministry had earlier authorised the Controller and Accountant General to release GH¢49,998,626.72 to the Ghana Education Service (GES) to enable it pay the outstanding transfer grants and other allowances owed teachers from 2017-2019.
The funds are to “enable the Director-General of the Ghana Education service pay outstanding transfer grant and other allowances to the qualified staff of GES from 2017 to 2019,” according to a communique sighted by Citi News.
The arrears compelled the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Ghana Association of Teachers (GNAT) to strike.
But NAGRAT has said it will not call off its strike despite the development.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, the President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu, said the payment of the arrears was only a fraction of their demands as the strike was also influenced by other human resource concerns.
The two groups have complained about the compulsory insurance policy deduction, delays in salary adjustments, delayed promotion interviews, delays in the issuance of promotion letters, the non-increase in remuneration despite the increase in contact hours, the difficulties in reinstating teachers, among others.
“This [release of funds] is not the solution. This is addressing aspects of the problem for all teachers. If the public services commission sits with the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and other stakeholders and cedes off that human resource management to the ministry, to the Ghana Education Service, we would have been solving this problem to a very large extent.”
Mr. Carbonu also indicated that they would decide on their next line of action soon.
Sympathy from Education Minister
The Education Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh, admitted that the strike was justified because of the “chronic” delays that plague remuneration and other human resource concerns in the civil service.
“The teacher agitation is founded. If you are teacher and you are recruited but for one year, you have not been put on the salary scale I can understand. You and I will do the same.”
“We hope that great sense of commitment to the nation will prevail and we can talk to the teachers to go back to the classroom…When I worked as a junior doctor, it was six months before my salary came and it is not right. We have to get it right.”