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General News of Saturday, 11 July 2009

Source: GNA

NAGRAT threatens to embark on strike action

Tamale, July 11, GNA - The Northern Regional Branch of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), has threatened to go on strike by 20th July, if the Ghana Education Service (GES) fails to address problems relating to salaries, allowances and other service conditions of members of the association. The group claimed that since April this year GH¢1 responsibility allowance for teachers had been slashed to 30 Ghana pesewas while vehicle maintenance allowance had also been reviewed from GH¢40 to GH¢8.

Mr. Lordson Afedo, Northern Regional Chairman of NAGRAT, who issued the warning at a press conference in Tamale, alleged that the quarterly grant to educational institutions had been reduced by 51.8 per cent and all allowances paid to schools slashed by over 70 per cent. Mr. Afedo said another policy being implemented by the GES was denying some teachers promotions and that this year qualified teachers, who applied for promotion interviews had been ignored. He said by the policy, teachers who failed their promotion were going to "mark time" for another two years before applying again to the GES Council for consideration, meaning that some teachers would have their juniors promoted above them.

Mr. Afedo alleged that teachers who were promoted in 2001 were not invited for interview because the GES complained about the lack of funds but ironically interviews were conducted for those who were promoted in 2003. He said the explanation by the GES that Teacher Training Colleges were being changed into tertiary institutions and teachers in the colleges were being left out of the interviews was wrong because the affected teachers should have been given the option to belong to the GES or the tertiary institution.

Mr. Afedo said the GES should act cautiously regarding a proposal submitted to it by a consultant suggesting that the salaries of teachers should be slashed adding that NAGRAT would not accept any such move. He said the silence of the GES over the matter indicated that, "It has gone down well with them", and queried "Are teachers' salaries the highest in the country?, "Where is the labour commission? and "Where is the GES together with its Council?.