COST OF LIVING ALLOWANCE SHOULD NOT BE THE ONLY REASON TO GO ON STRIKE – ATAG
We want to acknowledge the positive agitation that is growing on the teaching front and we welcome the uproar. The cost of living in Ghana is unbearable and this call has come far too late. With this, we give our support to the wind of agitation and encourage every teacher to join the movement to put pressure on the government to do the needful.
However, we find the call to go on strike over “Cost of Living Allowance” as insufficient and cannot withstand the test of time in demanding our rightful place as professionals. The president reiterated that “teachers are not meant to be millionaires” some few months ago and if we want to exert any form of pressure it should not be done on weak fundamentals. We understand the cost of living allowance will only be negotiated within a time frame and once the economy bounced back, the government is obliged to put it on hold.
We have many concerns as teachers. Our conditions of service are poor and we continue to be treated as the second choice among all other professionals. This period is giving us the fine opportunity to once and for all bear our teeth to the government in a manner that will help address all our pertinent and legitimate concerns immediately. We must not put our eggs in one basket and pretend the government will listen to us whilst other serious concerns and issues beg for attention.
(a) We want GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT-GH leaders to understand that negotiating for an increment in our salary is non-negotiable and this is the ripe time to push all our energies into demanding for salary increment once and for all.
(b) We do not think the leadership of GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT-GH is oblivion of the fact that if the COLA is granted, it may force the government not to consider any other form of salary increment since the economy is already bad. The government will be tempted to elude us any form of increment if even if it decides to give us 10% of this COLA which is temporal. Teachers will be happy with a permanent 15% increase in their salary immediately than a COLA that is subjected to a period.
(c) Again, the government through GES has failed to honour certain privileges due to teachers. These privileges include promotion, incremental jumps, study leave with or without pay, re-engagement and other hosts of allowances. We want this current strike to capture these issues as well because our suffering as teachers is partly due to the refusal of our employer to adhere to granting various privileges to us.
(d) We do not think that GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT-GH are encouraging teachers to go on strike to save their image after many threats to the government over the TM1 laptop did not yield results. As it stands, primary school teachers are yet to receive their laptops. Going on strike over one issue is insufficient to put legitimate pressure on the government. Primary school teachers need their laptops from which their CPD allowance had been deducted already for it.
Ladies and gentlemen, the time for real pressure is now and we caution the leadership of GNAT, NAGRAT, and CCT-GH not to sound a wrong trumpet and turn around to blame the government for ineptitude and bad faith.
The time is now for teachers to break the chains of marginalization and unprofessional treatment and we urge every one of us to take his or her destiny into his or her hands rather than relying solely on leaders of GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT-GH that we cannot wholeheartedly trust in fighting the REAL COURSE FOR TEACHERS.
ARISE TEACHERS! ARISE NOW FOR YOUR DIGNITY!!
Albert Dadson Amoah