Industrial unrest in the education sector is not new. Successive governments have to deal with one labour unrest or the other at various times.
Anytime labour unions, especially the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) or the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) embark on strike action, the whole country becomes anxious because their action often disrupts the academic calendar.
Indeed, such unrests affect teaching and learning in schools, from the primary through to the university level.
That is why we are uncomfortable with the strike action declared on Wednesday by NAGRAT, to press home their demands for the payment of their salary arrears, and for the Ghana Education Service (GES) to sit with them at the negotiation table to draft a new collective agreement.
Other grievance the teacher union put forward include delays in giving out promotion letters and conducting promotion interviews.
The president of NAGRAT, Mr Eric Angel Carbonu explained for example that teachers, who were promoted three years ago, had not been given their promotion letters indicating the effective date of their promotion.
He said teachers who had additional responsibilities besides their teaching duties were not being paid their responsibility allowance after they were promoted.
Some teachers who have completed their study with or without pay have not been reinstated by the GES.
“Due to the myriad of problems bedeviling promotion in the GES, teachers have stayed on their ranks without being invited for promotion interviews” he said, adding that a huge backlog has been created as a result of teachers waiting to be invited for promotion interviews.
From the surface of the number of issues raised, it does appear that the teacher unions have genuine grievances that must be looked into.
Fortunately, the GES has responded to the strike action by assuring the teachers it will resolve all the issues raised by NAGRAT before the re-opening of the schools for the 2019/2020 academic year.
Professor Kwasi Amankwaah, the Director General of the GES said the service would look into the demands as put forward by NAGRAT and ensure their action did not disrupt the school calendar.
We commend the GES for its swift response and the assurance to resolve the issue in a timely manner so that it does not disrupt the academic calendar.
The grievances raised by NAGRAT are not difficult matters that cannot be resolved at the negotiation table. We believe that they can be resolved so long as there is willingness from both parties to settle the issues amicably.
We strongly believe that the negotiation table is the best place to settle such matters and we encourage NAGRAT to allow the GES to resolve the grievances.
We hope while the GES is at it, the teacher union would relax the strike action so that it would not unnecessarily disrupt the school calendar.Read Full Story