The National Labour Commission (NLC) has said the ongoing strike by three teacher unions in protest of the non-payment of arrears is illegal.
It has therefore ordered the teacher unions to “call off the strike immediately and return to work”.
This instruction comes on the back of a scheduled meeting between representatives of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Education Ministry, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), of which the teacher unions were supposed to be a part of but failed to attend.
The three teacher unions, the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) are currently embarking on a strike over demands for payment of salary arrears.
But the NLC in a statement stated that “the Commission in the exercise of the authority conferred on it by Section 139 (1)(b) of Act 651 finds the Associations’ action in violation of Act 651 and therefore the ongoing strike of the Unions is illegal.”
NLC meeting cancelled
The meeting between the NLC and the three teacher unions which was scheduled for Tuesday morning was cancelled.
After the first day of the industrial action, the NLC scheduled a meeting with the three teacher unions to remedy the situation.
However, speaking to the leaders of the three teacher unions, they disclosed their inability to be present for the meeting.
Confirming this to Citi News, the Executive Secretary to the National Labor Commission, Ofosu Asamoah said the teacher unions requested for the meeting to be rescheduled.
“They have written to us that they can’t make it. They said they are outside Accra for an equally important meeting so we should reschedule. It’s the Commission that will pick a date. They were supposed to meet the Minister at 9 o’clock and they didn’t go as well. And most of them have put their phones off. How can all the executives put their phones off?”
“And when did they decide that they were going out of Accra because there was a meeting yesterday at the Ministry and they decided to continue the meeting today and chose 9 o’clock and all of a sudden between yesternight and this morning, the leadership of all the three unions have vanished,” he said.
GES, Education Ministry react to strike
The Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Education have in separate press releases described the action as baseless, illegal and shocking.
Authorities held a series of meetings with the leadership of the teacher groups where it discussed the payment of the said arrears with the modalities involved adding that a December 5 ultimatum given by the teachers was not realistic.
But the teachers insist their strike is justified on all fronts hence; they will not rescind their decision and will only return to the classrooms if the monies due them are paid.
Lessons ongoing in schools
However, despite the ongoing strike, public schools have seen teachers reporting to their posts for teaching duties.
At the Archbishop Porter Girls’ Senior High School in Sekondi-Takoradi for instance, the Headmistress of the school, Charlotte Asiedu Musah, told Citi News that classes have been ongoing as the teachers’ were unions yet to inform the school about any strike.
Some teachers in some schools in the Ashanti Region where Citi News visited had also ignored the action being taken by their colleagues and were performing their normal duties in the classrooms.