The National Labour Commission (NLC) is expected to meet the three teacher unions on today, Tuesday over their ongoing nationwide strike.
The striking Teacher Unions, namely the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT), are demanding payment of salary arrears owed their members between 2012 and 2015.
The strike, which began on Monday, is already affecting teaching and learning negatively.
However, despite the industrial action by the teachers, some public schools were on normal schedule as teachers reported to their posts for teaching duties.
But, Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission (NLC), Mr Ofosu Asamoah, in a Citi News interview said, today's meeting will determine the way forward.
“The teachers have stated their position that they are entitled to some arrears which have not been paid them. They have been promised over the period but it has not been delivered that is why they are resorting to the strike. So as a commission, we are established to resolve issues on the labour front. We have invited them together with their employees in an attempt to settle whatever is wrong with them so that they can go back to their work. Whatever is due them will be paid to them as well.”
Teachers justify strike
The striking teachers have indicated that they are ready to return to the classrooms if the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Education pay them after a review of their data currently ongoing.
But with about a week for schools to go on vacation, the teachers say, they have demonstrated enough patriotism and love for the country by their patience.
While day one of the strike did not witness the full commitment of all teachers, the General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Thomas Musah says the strike will gather momentum with time.
“So far so good, the reason is that we have heard of intimidation and other things. Today [Monday] was the first day and people made their own statements but our checks across the country gave us an indication that by Tuesday, everything will work well.”
Education Ministry explains delays in salary arrears
The Ministry of Education says the government has saved about GH¢11 million from reviewing the data of teachers expecting to be paid their salary arrears by the State.
According to the Ministry's Head of Public Relations, Vincent Assafuah, the State would have paid money to undeserving staff if it was not diligent in conducting a review of the data of teachers who were expecting payment.
He said some of the teachers had data suggesting they were superior officers hence deserving of higher salaries, while others had inconsistent portfolios.
While appealing to the striking teachers to return to the classrooms, he urged them to corporate with the government as it goes through the necessary procedures to pay them.
“There were some teachers who had no data with the GES… By convention, there is a review that is done by the management of the GES when the Controller and Accountant General's Department brings the data. We have done our review and we are saying that, if not by virtue of the due diligence that we had made at the GES office, government would have paid in excess of GH¢11 million,” he stressed.