PRESS CONFERENCE ON TEACHERS’ CONDITIONS OF SERVICE; UNPAID SALARY ARREARS AND INSURANCE POLICY ON 2ND JULY, 2018 AT PREMPEH COLLEGE, KUMASI BY THE ALL TEACHERS ALLIANCE GHANA (ATAG)
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media, you are welcome to today’s press conference. We have called you this morning to register our displeasure on the way and manner many important issues of teachers are being handled in this country. It is our expectation that you would record the issues accurately and disseminate same for all stakeholders in the education landscape.
We want to bring to the attention of the media that teachers across the country had not treated well by successive governments and the current administration is deliberately perpetuating same.
Today, we want the whole world to understand that the scale has fallen from our eyes and we will not kowtow to any form of threat and coddles until the government head to our plea. We believe the marginal treatment of teachers in this our country is becoming too much and it is time we bear our teeth to the government.
Many things are not done right in this country when it comes to issues affecting teachers. We are treated with a lot of unfairness, disdain and disrespect. We appreciate what the government intend to do for us to promote quality education but we believe that the potholes of deficiencies are many and need to be covered for any good intensions to be carried out.
There are issues that clearly depict the betrayal of trust by government and continue to deepen the apathy and lack of commitment of teachers. The fallen standard of education is partly attributed to some of these issues but the government and our employers had deliberately turned blind eyes and death ears to them.
The issues are outlined as follow:
(1) The whooping accumulation of arrears is stunning and mind boggling. Many of us are full of grievances because legitimately we have been denied what is due us after working for months and years without salaries. This treatment is sheer wickedness against the profession. There are many of us, across the country that are affected by these unprecedented arrears issue. From 2012 up till 2016, many teachers who were employed legitimately by the government through the Ghana Education Service were only paid three months’ salary arrears and the rest left outstanding. Though some payments had been made since 2015, it is yet to cover every victim. For instance, the 2016 batch of teachers, numbering over 16,000 is yet to receive their arrears.
We are telling the government that the negotiations are enough and do not merit fairness as well, he should check the data in place and quickly pay all outstanding arrears even if he has to borrow to do so.
It becomes demeaning and insults if we are made to feel that before arrears could be paid you need to be validated. Even after validation, many of us are yet to receive our arrears. This is total cheating and unfair labour practice. It is only in Ghana that this kind of treatment could be entertained.
On Thursday, 5th July, teachers across the country will converge in Accra to demonstrate against the government for owning them monies they have legitimately worked for. We call on all well-meaning teachers who feel betrayed to join in the march for freedom and justice.
(2) Our Bargaining Agreement, that spells out our conditions of service, with the government since December 2012 had expired and hanging in the balance. This is not good since it leaves the profession naked and impoverished. Though there has been some salary adjustments since the inception of the single spine pay policy, teachers’ conditions of service under current economic turbulence is nothing good to write home about. Comparatively, it is only in teaching profession that lacks proper conditions of service. We do not have any meaningful career development but only upgrading of certificates to enable us get promoted. After working for seven years with all the classroom work and activities, an interview with mere asking of questions will determine your fate. The saddest aspect of it is that these promotions do not fetch any additional meaningful income: just a step or two ahead of our previous rank.
We want to demand on behalf of teachers what has happened to our conditions of service which border on salaries, fringe benefits and allowances, principles of engagement and termination of service such as transfers, promotion and housing, sick leave with pay, training and retraining, medical schemes, study leave, release of employee and why it cannot be renewed.
The single spine salary structure did not favour teachers because our retention premium is poor as compared to other professions and we have been deliberately been left out of the category 2 and 3 allowances captured under the structure.
We are asking GNAT, who holds the bargaining power, as a matter of urgency convene a meeting calling all the unions to champion a common front and invite government to the negotiation table on our conditions of service as professionals before things get out of hands. We believe GNAT has all the muscles to do this and must not disappoint us.
(3) On the early hours of Tuesday, 26th June, 2018, teachers woke up in the morning only to be greeted with some GH₵10 SIC insurance policy deduction on our payslip. We understand the policy is the main idea of the government to better the condition of teachers. We are wondering why teachers were not briefed on the policy before enrollment. We believe this kind of posture depict how teachers have been disrespected in this country. An insurance policy which comes in the name of ‘GES’ stands questionable: an indication to drain innocent teachers of their meagre income.
In any case, many teachers across the country have subscribed to different insurance policy and we think it is enough. The suspension of the policy and asking teachers to opt out or in if they want is neither here or there. It should be taken out completely. Though the idea is good, we want the insurance policy to be in cooperated in our conditions of service for us to benefit without any form of deduction.
The quality of education is a correlation between teacher welfare development and children good performance. If the government’s focus is on the quality of children that receive education in this country, then he must understand that teachers deserve better going forward.
Education in Ghana revolves around teachers and if care is not taking, the current trend of fallen standard will continue to sink further. We do not abhor licensing of teachers or operationalizing the profession to promote sanity and quality but we think leaving teachers desperate in this regard will create more room for knee-jerk performance of various positive educational policies.
All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) is calling on the government in all sincerity, not for the course of achieving political capital or giving arsenals to his opponents, but to give the teaching profession a facelift by focusing on raising the standard of living of teachers through additional reforms that will better our conditions of service.
The time is now. If the government refuses to attend to these issues and do something tangible about them, we will advise ourselves as teachers going forward.
We will stage a historical uprising in the teaching profession, by inviting teachers to rise up to stand for their rights and freedom, to seek for proper dignity to be accorded us instead of paying us lip service and flattery.
Long live ATAG!
Long live Teachers Unions!
Long live Ghana!.
Albert Dadson Amoah
Elvis Adu Agyeman
Ashanti Regional Chairman