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23.10.2003 Regional News

Bolga teachers strike was uncalled for- GES Director

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Bolgatanga, Oct 23, GNA- Mr Jacob I.Y. Asigri, Bolgatanga Municipal Director of the Ghana Education Service (GES) said on Wednesday that the strike action by teacher of the 2002 year group in the District was unjustified.

Mr. Asigri said before they went on strike on October 1, 2003, they had already collected their salaries and arrears due them. He noted that the issue of payment of salaries and arrears from September 2002 to 2003 was therefore not a basis for the industrial action.

He said the delay in payment was not the fault of the Directorate, explaining that, there was a temporary ban by the Ministry of Finance on expenditure in respect of promotions and recruitment in the Ghana Education Service (GES) as at May when the inputs for salaries was sent.

He explained that when the ban was lifted in August, the inputs could not be worked on until September 2003, when the teachers were paid their new salaries with all the arrears from September 2002 to September 2003.

On the issue of payment of Travel and Transport Allowances (T&T), Mr. Asigri noted that, the 2002 group was not captured in the 2002 budget since they were by then in their respective colleges and could not have been paid that year.

He said in 2003 the first release of provisional estimates could not cover all their claims as only 1,572,000 cedis was provided instead of 3,480,000 cedis. So he had to defer payments to get more money to add and pay which he later did on Wednesday January 22, 2003.

He said he was shocked to hear that the teachers were on strike so he summoned them to a meeting through radio announcement on the October 20, 2003 and through discussions in the presence of the Regional GNAT Secretary, the teachers understood the situation, apologized and resumed work.

The Director cautioned the teachers to always seek clarification on issues they did not understand before embarking on strikes. He assured the teachers that his office was there to serve the interest of teachers and pupils in the classrooms, but warned that teachers who deliberately use lies and distortions to malign his administration would be made to face disciplinary action.

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