PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE TEACHERS (NAGRAT) ON THURSDAY 12TH APRIL 2012 AT THE NATIONAL SECRETARIAT
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, colleague teachers, it is my pleasure to welcome you to this all important Press Conference. Today’s gathering is meant to draw your attention to some concerns that the Association has had and which have remained unaddressed to date.
- Today’s Press Conference will address issues relating to the payment of Single Spine Salary arrears for teachers.
- Failure of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to generate pay slips for teachers in February and March this year.
- The unacceptable delay in making appropriate inputs to either pay teachers their salaries or place them on their right salary scales and
- Non payment of salary incremental credits for all teachers.
PAYMENT OF SINGLE SPINE SALARY ARREARS
Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, the Single Spine Pay Policy has brought with it one challenge after the other. Since the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy the whole country has been thrown into a state of industrial unrest for one reason or the other. The Pay Policy was welcomed with spates of industrial agitations and demonstrations across the country.
Then followed the difficulty of when the salary arrears would be paid. It took intense pressure from the Association to get government to roll out a payment schedule for the arrears. One would have thought the problems would end with the payment schedule put in place but that was not to be.
Since the beginning of payment of the salary arrears in October 2011, every pay day has become an occasion for further disquiet at the labour front. The amount of arrears due for each month varies in such a way as to defy any form of mathematical calculation. As we speak today, there is no single teacher who can tell the amount of salary arrears due him or her per month. The situation is getting progressively frustrating. It has worsened from reductions in the amount of arrears per month to the non-payment of salaries for some teachers in February and the just ended March. Efforts by the leadership of NAGRAT to get explanations from the Controller and Accountant General’s Department have confused everybody further.
At one point, the explanation was that some teachers are on conversion difference and hence do not deserve salary arrears. This statement has turned out to be false since no teacher has a conversion difference. At another time it was explained that some teachers were overpaid and so the system was retrieving the over payment. Unfortunately, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department has failed to explain the reason for the notable reduction in salaries of teachers.
NAGRAT wishes to call on the Controller and Accountant General’s Department to stop the excuses and get down to business. If they lack personnel, government must recruit more hands; if it is a problem with the system, then they must find an immediate solution.
GENERATION OF MONTHLY PAYSLIPS
Ladies and gentlemen, one worrying practice that is worth being condemned is the payment of salaries without accompanying pay slips.
We are at a loss as to why workers should be given monthly salaries without pay slips. This practice makes it difficult for workers to ascertain whether they are receiving the right salary. NAGRAT suspects foul motive behind the denial of teachers a true record of their pay and we call on government to institute investigations into it.
In fact, it appears that the practice of withholding pay slips from teachers who deserve them could only be aimed at ensuring that teachers remain ignorant about how much pay they deserve. If the Controller and Accountant Generals Department has nothing to hide, it should generate pay slips for every worker even before the person goes to the bank for his/her salary at the end of the month.
If teachers are paid their correct salaries one would have thought that the generation of pay slips would enable teachers ascertain that their salaries are not understated and forestall any form of salary related agitations.
NON-PAYMENT OF NEWLY RECRUITED TEACHERS, NON-UPGRADING OF PROMOTED TEACHERS AND NON-PLACEMENT OF TEACHERS WITH ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
Another area of grave concern to NAGRAT is the snail pace at which inputs are made in relation to the payment, upgrading and placement of teachers on their correct salary levels. Some teachers have been employed and have remained at post for well over a year without salaries yet such teachers are expected to put up their best at the work place. Ladies and gentlemen, this issue has been raised over and over in public discourse but it continues to expose the helplessness of government in finding solution to it. Teachers who were promoted to higher grades should have had their promotion dated 1st September 2010 but were short changed when their promotions were made to take effect from 1st May 2011. To rub salt in our wounds, the affected teachers have not been placed on their new grades even as at now. Besides teachers with additional responsibilities who should have been placed at specific pay points on the Single Spine Salary Structure have been denied that opportunity due to the pile up of work at the IPPD Section. This cannot be acceptable given the fact that the IPPD section of the Ghana Education Service is at times given only two days in the month to make inputs. The question one may ask is: What do they use the rest of the days in the month to do?
NON PAYMENT OF SALARY INCREMENTAL CREDITS
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, NAGRAT also want to draw the attention of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to the fact that teachers have been denied Salary incremental credit from September each year since 2010.
We emphasize that the two outstanding incremental credits be translated to two pay points movement on the Single Spine Structure for each Ghana Education Service worker. It must be noted that this is not the first time NAGRAT and GNAT have been drumming this matter home but it seems any time it is raised authorities tend to trivialized it. We want to emphasize that it is a serious matter and has the tendency of breeching the industrial peace within the Ghana Education Service.
We call on the Ministry of Education and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to do the right thing by calling for a meeting to discuss this issue immediately.
- NAGRAT appalls the lukewarm attitude of Government in relation to the procurement of a server to facilitate the work at the IPPD Section. In spite of all the sweet promises made by the Ministry of Education to end teachers’ suffering by the end of February with the procurement of this server, Government is now silent about their earlier promise. We therefore call on government to revisit the M.O.U of January 2012 and to put their mouth where their monies are.
- NAGRAT decry the way the Controller and Accountant General’s Department has been handling the payment of teachers’ salaries, especially with regard to arrears payment, correction of anomalies and issuing of pay slips. We want to make it emphatically clear that if these crude ways of administering salaries are not altered as soon a practicable we will resort to all options available to us.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we have invited you here to share with you the frustrations our members are going through and to entreat you to let Ghanaians know.
NAGRAT wishes to state unequivocally that if by the end of April 2012, these concerns remain unaddressed, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, the Ghana Education Service and government should take full responsibility for all outcomes.
Thank you for coming.