The Deputy Ranking Member on Parliament’s Education Committee, Dr. Clement Apaak has blamed the government for the decision by four teaching unions to embark on an indefinite strike.
According to the Builsa South legislator, the government was not proactive in meeting the needs of the concerned teachers to pay their 20% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).
He made these observations known at a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday, July 5.
“As we speak, close to 7 million students from Kindergarten through primary school to Junior High School to Secondary Schools are currently not benefiting from teaching and learning.
“Clearly, this is as a result of the government ‘s inability to meet its obligations that they will be proactive in addressing the needs and demands of the labour unions including teachers,” he lamented.
It will be recalled that on Monday, July 4, the leadership of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT), and the Teachers & Educational Workers’ Union (TEWU) asked their members to withdraw their services.
This decision was announced by the General Secretary of GNAT, Thomas Musah Tanko.
The unions earlier gave the government a June 30 ultimatum, to grant the 20% COLA or risk the wrath of over 240,000 teachers nationwide.
The striking teachers lamented that the high inflation and incessant skyrocketing prices of fuel, goods and services, “have eroded the already woefully so-called salary increases granted” to them.
“We wish to unambiguously express our grave concern of the excruciating pain of poverty that has been bestowed on the Ghanaian teacher and Education Workers.
“The Members of the Unions in education can no longer bear the hardship. Even more so, we reject the inequalities of salaries in the public service in the country,” the group said at a presser announcing their next line of action.
They made reference to Article 36 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana, which states:
“The state shall, in particular, take all necessary steps to ensure that the national economy is managed in such a manner as to maximise welfare, freedom, and happiness of every person in Ghana and to provide adequate means of livelihood and suitable employment and public assistance to the needy.
“The state shall, in particular, take all the necessary steps to establish a sound and healthy economy whose underlying principles shall include the guarantee of a fair and realistic remuneration for production and productivity in order to encourage continued production and higher productivity, the recognition that the most secure democracy is the one that assures the basic necessities of life for its people as a fundamental duty.”
Since the announcement, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, the Ghana Education Service, and other relevant stakeholders have engaged the leadership of the unions in a crunch meeting to reach an amicable solution.