The National Labour Commission (NLC) has directed the Standing Negotiation Committee (SNC) of the Management of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to re-convene the meeting with the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) within seven days.
The directive followed a complaint lodged with the commission by the TEWU about the unco-operative attitude of the management of the Ghana Education Service (GES).
A letter signed by the Administrative Officer of the NLC, Mrs Bernice A. Welbeck, to the Minister of Education, Science and Sports, said, “In accordance with the National Labour Commission Regulations 2006, LI, 1822, we direct that the Standing Negotiation Committee should re-convene within seven working days on receipt of this letter to continue with the deliberations.”
The letter, however, urged the committee to inform the commission if there were difficulties for the negotiation to commence at the stated time.
At the last meeting of the SNC, held on August 9, this year, it was agreed to adjourn deliberations to September 14, to enable management to seek renewed mandate from authorities on some deferred proposals and also allow the two technical sub-committees to come out with their recommendation.
A letter signed by the General Secretary of the TEWU, Mr Dan Ayim Antwi, said it was agreed at that meeting that a technical sub-committee, which would include TEWU, GNAT and NAGRAT, should be set up to come out with recommendations on salaries for all employees of the GES.
It said even though the union submitted the name of its representatives to the management on August 15, 2006, to date the management had not made it possible for the committee to commence work.
“We are yet to be informed about why the SNC meeting was not held on the 14th September, 2006, “ the letter said.
It stated that this had compelled the union to refer the management's uncooperative attitude to the NLC.
In a related development, a retired educationist and a former General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Mr Thomas A. Bediako, has pointed out that one of the achievements of GNAT as a trade union was its possession of a Collective Bargaining Certificate (CBA), which it could use to effectively negotiate with the employer instead of embarking on strikes, Lucy Adoma Yeboah reports.
In apparent reference to the current disagreement between GNAT and the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr Bediako observed that it was important the two groups came together to present a composite proposal even “if they could not agree on anything else”.
In connection with the Teachers' Day celebration, he told Daily Graphic yesterday that, “The two should listen and go by this way for the benefit of the profession and the nation.”
He acknowledged the poor conditions of service of teachers and said they could change the situation only with a unified front.
He said just like the rest of the public servants in the country, the salaries of teachers were inadequate but cautioned that it would be better if they followed the laid down procedures.
In another vein, he drew the attention of government to the fact that for teachers to be professionally efficient and offer quality education to Ghanaian children, their needs should be addressed.
On the day set aside for teachers throughout the world, Mr Bediako said “I wish all teachers throughout the world and especially those in Ghana the best in all things”.
Delivering a paper on the 75th Anniversary Celebration and the World Teachers' Day Lecture in Accra last Tuesday, Mr Bediako commended the founders of GNAT for achieving a self-reliant and an independent organisation.
Giving the historical background to the formation of the association in Ghana, he said it started as a protest movement in the 1930's, even before UNESCO came in to formalise it with the government of Ghana in 1966.
He said its mission was to unify all teachers for better conditions of service, job security and professional status.
The Upper West Regional branch of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has called on the government to expedite action on negotiations for new salary structure for teachers so as to bring industrial peace to the education sector. George Folley Quaye & Chris Nunoo report from Wa.
The association also urged its striking members in the region to return to work and allow the leadership of GNAT to negotiate with the government on their behalf.
It explained that while negotiations were ongoing, members should not embark on strike, since such action would stall negotiations.
“We are just entering into negotiations with [the] government, which we have not reached a deadlock, it is, therefore, important that we do not put the cart before the horse,” it stated.
At a hurriedly organised news conference in Wa yesterday (Wednesday) to state its position on the current strike action by some of its members, the Regional GNAT Chairman, Mr Paul Adam, said the preferential treatment offered by the government to the health sector workers from the Ghana Universal Salary Structure (GUSS) led to serious disparities in terms of incomes.
He, however, noted that new salary proposals for teachers had already been forwarded to the Ministries of Education, Science and Sports and Employment respectively, for negotiations on the proposals to commence.
He said the new proposal took into consideration the disparities in the salary levels between the health sector workers and those of the Ghana Education Service (GES) and that it was being addressed.
On the call by the concerned GNAT members in the region that it has passed a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the regional association, Mr Adam explained that the national delegates conference of the GNAT was the only body that wielded such powers.