Takoradi Poly teachers threaten strike over single spine delays
Some aggrieved members of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) at Takoradi Polytechnic; have vowed to withdraw their services “if no conscious and progressive effort” is made to migrate them unto the single spine salary structure by the end of January 2012.
The Concerned Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (COPTAG) as they are called, say they are appalled by what they describe as “sweet unfulfilled promises” by the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and Government to migrate Polytechnic teachers onto the single spine pay Policy.
Speaking at a News Conference in Takoradi on Monday, one of the aggrieved teachers, Michael Asare Appiah, said several meetings between the FWSC and the national POTAG executives have been fruitless, hence their decision to mount pressure on Government, particularly when their colleagues in the Universities are enjoying from the new pay structure.
Giving the genesis of events that led to the nationwide strike by Polytechnic Teachers in October 2010 and a subsequent court action against POTAG by the FWSC, Mr. Asare Appiah said an action plan was agreed upon on December 29 between FWSC, POTAG and its consultant, to facilitate the migration of POTAG members onto the SSSS by March 2011, but that did not take place.
“The FWSC embarked on a campaign of promises with the Chief Executive officer, George Smith Graham, cum the Public Relations Officer of FWSC, leading the chants of sweet promises. POTAG was sweetly promised migration onto the SSSS in June 2011. This also turned out to be an illusion. The promises to migrate POTAG members keep flowing in every month and the sad thing about these false promises is the fact that they come from the high office of the Chief Executive Officer of the FWSC” they noted.
They also cited an unfulfilled promise by the Education Minister during a recent congregation by the Takoradi Polytechnic to migrate POTAG members by the end of December last year.
Mr. Michael Asare Appiah said the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission's latest promise to migrate them by the end of January 2012 is an illusion because the processes leading to the migration of any public institution should be exhausted in about eight weeks.
“As we speak, none of these processes have been completed. Our living conditions keep deteriorating by the day and we cannot continue to live under this umbrella of unfulfilled promises as we get consumed by extreme economic hardships. Members are frustrated that other public servants are enjoying under improved working conditions and a substantial percentage salary increase. POTAG for two years has not seen a single increase in pay neither have we witnessed any improvement in our working conditions, yet we all buy from the same market” they bemoaned.
“In September 2008, when the 2006 conditions o service of POTAG expired, we were never given opportunity to negotiate. Meanwhile, UTAG's conditions of service which also expired in October 2008 have been reviewed twice. We cannot help but wonder if POTAG has committed a crime or there is a deliberate attempt to downplay Polytechnic education or the Polytechnic teacher? The posture of FWSC and Government towards the welfare of POTAG members' smacks of deliberate disregard and disrespect and this is unacceptable”.
They called on the FWSC and Government to ensure a speedy, fair and transparent resolution of all the outstanding issues on their migration onto the SSSS, and also urged executives of the National POTAG to remain resolute and committed to the process of migrating them onto the SSSS.
“ We however state our unequivocal intention to withdraw our services indefinitely by the end of this month, January 2012, if we do not see a conscious and progressive effort to migrate POTAG onto SSSS”.
Story by Ghana | Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie | Radio Maxx/Takoradi