8 November 2018

Ghana: Coalition of Concerned Teachers Lay Down Tools

About 40,000 teachers of the Coalition of Concern Teachers (CCT) are still on strike following some arrears owed them by the government.

The coalition declared an indefinite strike beginning last Thursday, Nov 1, 2018 over what they say was 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 about 40,000 teachers spanning from 2013 to 2016 had not been paid by the government.

They also accused the Ghana Education Service (GES) of deducting GH¢10 from their salaries to pay for their life insurance, contrary to its promise to bear such insurance expenses.

Speaking to Ghanaian Times in an interview yesterday, president of the coalition, Mr King Ali Awudu, argued that since educational workers number more than 300,000 taking GH¢10 from each person's salary meant more than GH¢ 3,000,000 per month.

He alleged that the deductions had been going on since June this year, although it stopped in July and August as a result of protests from members.

"It resurfaced in September and October. As of now we do not know who is keeping custody of those millions of Ghana cedis, a very unfortunate situation for a country like Ghana.

"With these two major concerns, effective last Thursday November 1, all the members of the coalition and other teachers at large have laid down their tools," he said.

Mr Awudu noted that the coalition had insisted it would not go to the classrooms to teach until their grievances were resolved, adding that if teachers who were at the centre of the Free Senior High School policy were not well-remunerated, billions of cedis of the taxpayers' money being used to finance free education would 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 28, 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, the coalition agreed that all arrears owed teachers should be paid by the end of October 31, 2018 as agreed by all stakeholders in June this year in a meeting organised at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations with the Minister for Employment himself and his deputy in the chair.

"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.

Mr Awudu said, as of October 31 more than 30,000 teachers still had their arrears, spanning from 2013 to 2016, unpaid," he lamented.

With regard to the life insurance, Mr Awudu said within the first quarter of this year, the Director of Ghana Education Service (GES) and Minister of Education informed the coalition that the government intended to introduce a life insurance policy freely for teachers of which some agreements were even signed.

He said however, the CCT was later informed that contrary to the promise made by the government, teacher were forcefully being deducted GH¢10 for the policy, a suggestion they kicked against.


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