Rev Isaac Owusu (2nd from left), President of GNAT, addressing the press conference in Accra. With him are Thomas Musah (left), General Secretary of GNAT, King Ali Awudu (3rd from left), President of CCT-GH, and Eric Agbe-Carbonu (right)), President, NAGRAT
Rev Isaac Owusu (2nd from left), President of GNAT, addressing the press conference in Accra. With him are Thomas Musah (left), General Secretary of GNAT, King Ali Awudu (3rd from left), President of CCT-GH, and Eric Agbe-Carbonu (right)), President, NAGRAT

Teacher unions strike over conditions of service

The three pre-tertiary teacher unions in the country yesterday declared an indefinite strike over a Collective Agreement that hangs in limbo.


The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers, Ghana (CCT-GH) consequently called on the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) to put in place measures to address issues affecting teachers’ ability to effectively deliver on their mandate.

Speaking on behalf of the leaders of the unions, the President of GNAT, Rev. Isaac Owusu, explained that the government had failed to renegotiate a collective agreement that addressed issues such as allowances for teachers in underserved areas, entertainment allowance and housing/rent allowance.


That, he said, was because the existing document expired in 2023 after running its three-year course, adding that the new one should have been finalised by February 29, 2024.

“Thus, the new collective agreement stands un-negotiated, and we raised this concern in our letter to the Director-General, GES, dated February 29, 2024, and also informed the National Labour Commission,” Rev. Owusu added.

The groups also urged the government to develop a functional and appropriate Scheme of Service which would take care of requirements needed by the teaching profession to thrive.

Rev. Owusu further urged the government to refrain from frequent changes to the school calendar without the input of the teacher unions, saying it was affecting the smooth operation of the system.

“The inability of the government and the service to complete the distribution of the laptops to all teachers is of concern, and the blockage of teachers’ salaries by the Office of the Special Prosecutor without recourse to laid down procedures is a major worry,” he added. 

In response to a question from journalists, the leaderships of the unions stated that the strike was not an ambush on the government and the GES because the groups had collectively consulted the appropriate authorities, including the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, about their grievances and corresponding intentions if they were not met.

“We are not ambushing anybody because we have given prior notice, we have written letters, we have engaged formally and informally, and all did not yield the positive results that we expect,” they said.

They, therefore, urged all their members to lay down their work tools and join the strike, stressing that teachers across the country deserve the best conditions of service to be able to work efficiently and effectively.

FWSC’s response

However, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) has described the industrial action embarked on by the three teacher unions as unlawful and a show of bad faith.

The commission has, therefore, called on the teacher unions to call off the strike immediately and return to the negotiation table.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the commission, Benjamin Arthur, said the commission had been engaging with the leadership of the unions, and the parties had agreed to sit around the negotiations table today.

"We were surprised that without serving the employer and the National Labour Commission with any notice, the teacher unions decided to embark on the strike.

We believe that the action is in bad faith, and we, therefore, call on the leadership of the unions to call off the strike while negotiation continues," he said. 

He observed that the decision by the teacher unions to embark on the strike because of what they considered as delayed negotiations would rather delay the process of concluding the negotiations.

At the press briefing in Accra three hours after the teacher unions embarked on the strike action, Mr Arthur said at a meeting held on January 20, this year, the government team had reached an agreement with the teacher unions on 10 out of the 16 items submitted for negotiations.

"FWSC indicated that there was the need to secure further mandate from the Ministry of Finance on the outstanding items in order to conclude negotiations with the teacher unions to which they agreed.

"Subsequently, FWSC extended an invitation to the teacher unions on Tuesday March 19, 2024 for a meeting on Thursday (March 21) at 10am to continue and possibly conclude negotiations, only to hear about the strike action," he explained. 


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