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03.06.2005 General News

Poly teachers reject 15% salary increase


Accra, June 3, GNA - The Polytechnic Teachers' Association of Ghana (POTAG) said on Friday that it had rejected a 15 per cent salary increase across board offered by the Government, POTAG said the Government had also stated that there would be no negotiations, it said in a statement issued in Accra.

"In the light of the frustration and disappointment suffered over the years, POTAG wishes to state emphatically that the offer cannot be accepted...," it said in the statement signed by Mr Napoleon Abiwu, President and Mr Michael Brigandi, General Secretary, after an emergency congress at Tamale on Thursday.

"POTAG demands that negotiations be reconvened as a matter of principle within 14 days from the date of issuing this statement," it said.

POTAG said it had a Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expired after every two years and that the last negotiated salaries and conditions of service ended in April 2002 and took retrospective effect from October 2001.

"In May 2002, government announced a 30 per cent salary increase but POTAG was excluded, resulting in the erosion of the gains chalked at the end of the last negotiations."

It said POTAG agreed reluctantly to take 17 per cent salary increase instead of 30 per cent with the understanding that a Committee, which was to ensure a lasting solution to the polytechnic salary problems and conditions of service would be put in place.

It said this led to the formation of the Alemna Committee, which submitted its report in June 2003 and was subsequently implemented in July 2003.

"In the report, POTAG was not to negotiate on salaries because any time that relative positions changed, that of POTAG would automatically change."

It said surprisingly, in October 2003, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Ms Elizabeth Ohene, wrote to advise that POTAG should not tie its salaries to any other institution but carve its own path. POTAG said it submitted proposals to be factored into the budget, but negotiations dragged on through the whole of 2004.

"At that time, our counterparts with comparable qualifications in the tertiary sector were enjoying salaries around 50 per cent higher than that of POTAG."

It said upon persistent demands, Government called POTAG to the negotiation table in July 2004 and said it could offer only 15 per cent. "A statement by Government that salaries and conditions of service cannot be negotiated until the completion of a Public Sector Salary Rationalisation exercise by the Senior Minister constituted a threat, a shift of focus and a breach of trust.

"In addition, POTAG thinks that it is a ploy to unduly punish its members if this exercise that was promised in October 2004 has still not been completed and whose completion date is uncertain."