The Teachers and Education Workers Union (TEWU) has warned it will be forced to take drastic measures, including a nationwide strike, if service conditions issues are not resolved by government soon.
The teachers at Ghana’s public schools have accused government of deliberately delaying negotiations on their conditions of service which expired some five years ago.
Chairman of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) branch of the Union, Charles Arthur told Joy News they have been forced to issue the threat because their demands have been long overdue.
He said not all the proposal put forward by the Union on service conditions are monetary, but government is just reluctant to strike a deal.
“It used to be that we had conditions of service with our employers [Vice Chancellors at universities and Rectors at Polytechnics] but when Fair Wages came into existence it has taken all of them”, he said.
According to him, the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, mandated to implement public service pay policy and monitor allowances and benefits of public servants among others has failed teachers and education workers.
“Immediately after this congress we will issue an ultimatum and then we move on. So if the deadline comes and nothing has been done then automatically [we will strike]”, he said.
TEWU, which has a membership of over 1,000, had warned in July that if by August, government has not finalised all negotiations, they would take a strong stance.
Mr Peter Lumor, National Chairman of TEWU, gave the warning while addressing the opening session of the Brong-Ahafo Regional Delegates conference in Sunyani.
Mr Lumor also noted that government and for that matter the Fair Wages and Salary Commission have been unfair to the union concerning the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure.
He said since the scheme and conditions of service of members expired many years ago, the government has not taken any proactive step to renew it, indicating the union had resorted to laid down procedures for the issue to be resolved but to no avail.
“If the government is treating doctors special and looking down on our members, then it is looking for trouble,” he warned.
A wave of strikes and threats of strike by public sector workers has hit the country.
Doctors and pharmacists at public health institutions have gone on strike. Yesterday the timely intervention of the Employment and Labour Relations Ministry forestalled a strike by nurses at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital.
If TEWU acts on its threat, Ghana’s education sector, especially at the tertiary level, will be significantly affected.