Teacher unions declare nationwide strike demanding ‘Cost of Living Allowance’

Four teacher unions have declared an indefinite nationwide strike – effective Monday, July 4 – over demands for the payment of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

The unions, comprising the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT), are demanding that the 20% of their basic salary be paid to them.

They have blamed their industrial action on government’s failure to pay the COLA, which they argue could have helped to mitigate the impact of the rising cost of living.

But after a June 30 deadline was exhausted, the workers have withdrawn their services, both in and outside the classroom.

Speaking at a joint press conference on Monday, the General Secretary of the GNAT, Thomas Musah, stated that all their calls on government for appropriate action have fallen on deaf ears.

“We can no longer bear the hardship. Even more so, we reject the inequality of salaries in the public services of this country. We have been compelled under the current circumstances to publicly communicate to Ghanaians on our intention to go on strike, having gone past the June 30, 2022 deadline [that] we gave government for the payment of the Cost of Living Allowance.

“Consequently, we have decided to embark on a strike action effective today, Monday, July 4, 2022. By this, we are informing the general public that we are withdrawing all our services in all the pre-tertiary education space – this includes teaching and non-teaching staff,” he announced.

Meanwhile, the Employment and Labour Relations Ministry says it has invited the leadership of the teacher unions to a meeting over their demands.

It, however, says only the leadership of GNAT had responded to attend, with NAGRAT and CCT yet to respond.

Once the unions are ready to show up for the meeting, it would be held, the Ministry has noted.

“I am still waiting for signals for us to meet where all stakeholders will be brought on board and the outcomes of those meetings will be laid bare to you [teachers]. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

“The fact that times are hard is trite knowledge. It is a reality. Our largest workforce as a country is teachers, and I must confess that public sector workers must be commended,” Deputy Employment Minister, Bright Wireko-Brobbey, told the media in an earlier interview.

Evans Osei-Bonsu

Evans is a radio producer @PureFM (95.7MHz) under the Angel Broadcasting Network (ABN Ghana), writer, student of Law and Politics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

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