NAGRAT SERVES NOTICE OF STRIKE

NAGRAT SERVES NOTICE OF STRIKE

Members of the National Executive Committee of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), members of the Association herein gathered, friends from the media, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, we are indeed grateful for your presence here considering the fact that our invitations were extended to you at very short notice.  We wholeheartedly welcome you to this Press Conference.  It is our expectation that you will listen attentively, seek the necessary clarifications and report accurately on the issues this conference will address.

The National Executive of NAGRAT is compelled to organise this Press Conference to bring to light for yet another time, unresolved concerns of the Association stemming from lack of interest on the part of our employer the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC),and for that matter government of Ghana to address them.  Allow me to take the concerns one after the other for ease of reference.

  1. 1.      NON NEGOTIATION OF CATEGORIES 2 & 3 ALLOWANCES FOR TEACHERS

Ladies and gentlemen, it would be recalled that teachers were migrated onto the Single Spine Salary Structure in January 2010 though the implementation of the Pay Policy took place in January 2011.  As at the time of this Conference, all arrears due teachers  on the Pay Policy have been paid albeit being spread over a long period of time-a situation that caused severe loss of value in the amounts received.  One underlying principle of the Single Spine Pay Policy is the standardization and harmonisation of allowances.  The essence of this exercise is to achieve equity in public sector remunerations.  The allowances under consideration include Categories 2 and 3 allowances.  While some service classifications migrated onto the Single Spine Salary Structure with some of these allowances, workers in the Ghana Education Service went onto the Structure without any allowances.

 

Efforts to get the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to negotiate the allowances with Teacher Unions have been futile.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, let me recount the following to illustrate the frustrations Teacher Unions are going through to obtain what is legitimately theirs.

 

a)     As far back as Friday 11th March 2011, NAGRAT , GNAT and TEWU signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and witnessed by the then Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, Honourable Enock Teye Mensah.  Item 6 of the MOU called for a roadmap for consideration of Categories 2 and 3 allowances for public sector employees.

b)    By a letter of 13th July 2011, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission invited stakeholders to a meeting on 19th July 2011 to sign the rules of engagement developed to guide negotiation of allowances.

c)     On 28th June 2011, the Vice President of NAGRAT addressed a Press Conference at the National Secretariat.   In the address, he called on the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to speed up the process of harmonization and standardization of allowances so as to eliminate the disparities.

d)    The Deputy General Secretary of NAGRAT wrote to the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission on 21st May 2012 lamenting the delay in the negotiation of various categories of allowances.

e)     On 15th June 2012, the General Secretary of NAGRAT sent a reminder on the delay in the negotiation of Categories 2 and 3 allowances to the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.

f)      In a submission of 5th July 2012, the General Secretary of NAGRAT wrote another reminder to the Chief Executive, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.

g)     On 5th July 2012, the General Secretary of NAGRAT raised the issue in a press conference address, urging the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to expedite action on the matter.

h)    On 10th July 2012, the President of NAGRAT wrote to the Minister of Education to intervene in the matter so as to cause the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to convene a meeting in order to resume negotiations of the allowances.  The only meeting that Fair Wages and Salaries Commission called for the negotiation was on 8th February 2012 and that meeting was adjourned a few minutes after commencement.

i)       The General Secretary of NAGRAT wrote to the Director General of the Ghana Education Service on a number of concerns including delay in the negotiations of Categories 2 and 3 allowances for teachers on 11th January 2013.

It is pertinent to note, Ladies and gentlemen that all major stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the GES Management and Council, the FWSC, the National Labour Commission were copied these correspondence and yet no actions were taken to address the concern.

Ladies and gentlemen, having followed the developments aimed at resolving the deliberate denial of the legitimate right of teachers to allowances, it is clear that NAGRAT cannot be blamed should any unfortunate developments occur at the labour front.

2.       MARKET PREMIUM FOR TEACHERS

As part of the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy, certain       categories of workers are entitled to market premium.  Contrary to what        the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission has made us to believe that          negotiation of market premium has not yet began, we were surprised to realise that a lot of workers within the public sector are being paid the          market premium. Efforts to get the Fair Wages and Salaries           Commission to sit down with Teacher Unions to negotiate market premium have fallen on deaf ears. This development is unfair,   discriminatory and a clear attempt to keep teachers disadvantaged   amongst their colleagues. It is therefore not a surprise that teachers are          angry and   poised to fight to the hilt.

 

3.       ANNUAL INCREMENTAL CREDITS FOR TEACHERS

Annual incremental credits have been a long standing entitlement for all   teachers in Ghana the date of incremental credit being 1st September each         year. However, upon migration of the Ghana Education Service workers onto the Single Spine Salary Structure the payment of     annual         incremental credits came to the halt.  Series of letters have been written to the Ghana Education Service and the Fair Wages and     Salaries           Commission to right the perpetuation of this wrongful act but both           institutions have treated our demand with the contempt it does not          deserve.

4.       VEHICLE MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE

Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, another issue which the Ghana Education Service has sought to trivialise is the non payment of vehicle          maintenance allowance to deserving teachers.  Information available to   NAGRAT indicates that almost all public sector workers entitled to the allowance have received payment of it.  As usual, teachers in the Ghana         Education   Service have been denied vehicle maintenance allowances          from January to   December 2012.  As the Ghana Education Service           management has   refused to respond to our request for the allowances to          be paid, one can conclude that a deliberate effort     is being made to   terminate the facility.  If the GES management cannot         improve upon      the conditions of service of teachers, it should at      least allow           what pertains to remain. We therefore demand an immediate payment of the        allowances with arrears through the Controller           and Accountant    General’s Department as is done to others.

5        SUPERVISION AND INVIGILATION OF EXAMS CONDUCTED BY WAEC

Very soon, two (2) streams of Senior High School Students to wit SHS 3          & SHS 4, will be      sitting the Senior High School Certificate   Examination.  Compensation for teachers who       will be supervising         and invigilating the exams has been a concern for a long time now.     Unfortunately, the GES has clearly demonstrated its disinterest in          negotiating appropriate compensation for teachers who will be risking        their lives and energy for the success of the exercise.

Supervision and invigilation of exams conducted by WAEC is not part of         the core duties of teachers and our Conditions of Service makes it clear         that  any examination conducted for or on behalf of an external body shall    be      paid for on time piece basis.  So far as WAEC is not a part of the          GES, teachers deserve adequate compensation.  If this is not done,    NAGRAT  will have no option than to organise a general boycott of          WAEC invigilation.

 

 

CONCLUSION

From the foregoing, it is clear that these problems did not arise yesterday.  They have been around for years.  Inspite of the numerous commitments NAGRAT has demonstrated in pursuit of amicable resolutions, the employer has abundantly exhibited bad faith in the matter.  Consequently, the Association has given the employer up to 25th January 2013 to resolve all outstanding issues or face industrial action.  As we speak, the disquiet among teachers has assumed alarming proportions and they are ready to go the full haul for the resolution of these grievances. Meanwhile, the National Labour Commission has already been served notice of our intentions.

We call on all Heads of institutions as well as Directors of Education not to stand in the way of teachers who are fighting for their legitimate rights.  We have been cheated for far too long and the time to act is now.

Thank you.

 

 

 

January 17, 2013

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UNRESOLVED GRIEVANCES OF THE STAFF OF THE GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE TEACHERS (NAGRAT) - GHANA National Secretariat P. O. Box NM 329 Accra –Ghana 4th July, 2014

Tel:  233-0302-403454

www.nagrat.org E-mail:info@nagrat.org   THE CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LABOUR COMMISSION PRIVATE MAIL BAG ACCRA       THE CHAIRMAN GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE COUNCIL P. O. BOX M 45 ACCRA     Dear Sir,

 UNRESOLVED GRIEVANCES OF THE STAFF OF THE GHANA EDUCATION SERVICE

We write to complain about the way and manner government and the Ghana Education Service management have handled grievances of the staff of the service. From 2010 to date, the unions of the Ghana Education Service have raised concerns on grievances that have been left unresolved by the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and for that matter government. These grievances have been the major reasons behind various strikes, demonstration; and petitions, and yet their redress remains far from sight. Sir, you would recall that in May 2014 the grievances listed below caused the National Association of Graduate Teachers to serve notice of its intention of industrial action on the National Labour Commission and the subsequent declaration of industrial action. They are:
  1. Second Tier Pension Scheme
  2. Payment of Outstanding Incremental Credits for 2011 and 2012
  3. Non-payment of Transfer Grants and T&T Allowances to Teachers Transferred from 2010 to date
  4. Three (3) Months Pay Policy on Newly Recruited Staff, Promotions and Re-engagement
  5. Revision of WAEC Invigilation Allowances.
Consequent upon that industrial action, a meeting was convened between the government team and the Teacher Unions on 15th May, 2014 to resolve the issues relating to teachers of the Ghana Education Service. At the meeting various agreements were reached on the issues and a Communiqué signed. (Vide copy for your study and use). We wish to bring to your notice that government and the GES management have failed to adhere to the tenets of the Communiqué they signed. A case in point is that on the payments of not more than three (3) months’ salary arrears. The agreement is that District Directors of education would submit completed templates for payment of the remaining arrears to Regional Directors latest by 16th May, 2014 and that payment are expected by the end of June 2014. Sir, we are now in July and most of the templates are still at the District Directorates. Payments for those that have been submitted to headquarters have not been made. On transfer grants, the Communiqué mandated District Directors to collate data on qualified beneficiaries by end of May 2014. Stakeholders were to be invited upon receipt of the data for a verification and validation exercise for payments to be effected. We have moved through June to July, 2014 yet the Stakeholders’ meeting has not been convened. Needless to say, the verifications and validation exercise has not taken place and a date for payment not known. Closely linked to the payment of transfer grant is the staff deployment and rationalization exercise. Government and the GES management agreed to suspend the exercise and source funding for the payment of transfer grants and T&T of teachers transferred since 2010. As of now the outstanding grants and allowance have not been paid yet teachers are being transferred under the exercise Collection of data on teachers who were transferred has been done for the group of 2014 to the neglect of all those transferred from 2010 to 2013. On the strength of that Communiqué and the genuine desire to create the congenial climate for further negotiations, NAGRAT called off its strike on 21st May, 2014. On the same day, the National Labour Commission (NLC) invited the parties to a meeting aimed at resolving the grievances. It is pertinent to point out that while NAGRAT and the FWSC attended the meeting other parties namely the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations failed to honour the invitation. The NLC scheduled another meeting for 18th June, 2014. The National Labour Commission notwithstanding issued some directive to be responded to by 11th June, 2014 prior to the meeting of 18th June, 2014. (Please find copy attached) Sir, it is interesting to note that the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service which had invited NAGRAT to a meeting on that day postponed the meeting indefinitely when NAGRAT called off the strike. That meeting has not been reconvened to date. This is a clear indication of the lack of commitment of government and the GES management to resolving the grievances of the Ghana Education Service Staff. When National Officers of NAGRAT reported at the premises of the National Labour Commission on 18th June, 2014, they were told that the meeting had been postponed indefinitely. It is almost three (3) weeks now and the National Labour Commission has left the issues hanging without any communication with the leadership of the Association. Sir, teachers are getting increasingly convinced that their grievances are systematically trivialized. We want to state emphatically that should any unpleasant outcome occur, teachers will take no share of blame. Their patience has been stretched to the limit and the disquiet is becoming alarming.   Yours faithfully,     Stanislaus P. Nabome General Secretary Cc:
  1. The Honourable Minister,
Ministry of Education Accra
  1. The Honourable Minister
Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations Accra
  1. The Honourable Minster,
Ministry of Finance Accra
  1. The Chief Executive
Fair Wages and Salaries Commission Accra
  1. The Director General
Ghana Education Service Accra
  1. The General Secretary
Ghana National Association of Teachers Accra
  1. The General Secretary
Teacher and Educational Workers Union Accra
  1. The President
Coalition of Concerned Teachers Accra
  1. All Regional Chairmen,
NAGRAT Regional Secretariat