The Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) Ghana has declared an indefinite strike beginning tomorrow Thursday, Nov 1, over what they say is the failure of the government to pay their salary arrears and the imposition of a life insurance policy on their members.
The coalition stated that the salary arrears of over 30,000 members from 2013 to 2016 had not been paid by the government which they accused to have also deducted GH₵10 from their salaries to pay for their life insurance, contrary to its promise to bear such insurance expenses.
“With these two major concerns, effective tomorrow, all the members of the CCT and teachers at large should lay down their tools and should not go to the classrooms to teach until our grievances are resolved,” it stated at a press conference Wednesday.
The President of the CCT, Mr King Ali Awudu, said “While we commend the government for implementing the free SHS programme, if teachers who are at the centre of the initiative are not well-remunerated the billions of the taxpayers’ money being used to finance free education will not yield positive outcome.
“At the end of the day, teachers cannot come out wholeheartedly to teach well and the students will come out as failures; if that happens, it means we have caused this country a great mess,” he stated.
Mr Awudu said on August 25, 2018 the coalition held its national executive council meeting in Tamale, and invited the Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, Ms Barbara Asher Ayisi.
He said at the meeting, all the stakeholders—the coalition, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Ministry of Finance, the Controller and Accountant General Department, the Ghana Education Service (GES) and Ministry of Education—agreed that all arrears owed teachers should be paid by the end of October 31, 2018.
“At the meeting, we agreed that if by the end of October 31, 2018 all the arrears had not been cleared, the CCT would have no option than to embark on an industrial action,” he said.
He added that to find an amicable solution to the impasse, another stakeholders’ meeting, chaired by the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, was organised in June this year during which the parties also agreed to collaborate to facilitate the payment of the arrears by the end of October 31, 2018.
“Unfortunately, today is October 31 and over 300,000 teachers still have their arrears, spanning from 2013 to 2016, unpaid,” he lamented.
Gov’t reneges on promise
With regard to the life insurance, Mr Awudu said within the first quarter of this year, the Director of GES and Minister of Education informed the coalition that the government intended to introduce a life insurance policy freely for teachers.
He said however, the coalition was later informed that contrary to the promise made by the government, “every teacher now has to pay GH10 for the policy in order to be enrolled, a suggestion we kicked against.”
“We have not asked anybody to do compulsory life insurance for educational workers; already our money is meagre and if the government thinks it no longer has the resources to implement the policy then it should halt it and allow individual teachers who need such insurance to go for it,” he said.
Contrary to warnings by the coalition, he said the GES proceeded to deduct GH₵10 from the salaries of educational workers in June 2018.
“We complained and the deduction was stopped in July and August and we requested that such money be refunded.
“We were assured that the deduction would be stopped and would be refunded but the money was not refunded in July and August only for us to see money deducted from our salaries again in September and October.