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TEWU supports GNAT over CBC
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General News of Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Source: GNA

TEWU supports GNAT over CBC

Accra, Oct. 24, GNA - The Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) on Tuesday added its voice to the incessant appeals to the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) to call off its strike and return to the classroom.

It said it was also in the interest of NAGRAT to join the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) in the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations for salaries and conditions of service for all teachers.

In an interview with Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Daniel Ayim Antwi, General Secretary of TEWU, said TEWU was happy that at long last with the Ghana Education Service (GES) in accordance with the Labour Act 651.

Mr Antwi said the Act had been acknowledged as the most comprehensive enactment, which codified into a single document various pieces of laws in the country for the sound industrial relations management.

It was also a landmark of good governance for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration to pass the Law, which was initiated by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and had received massive support including International Labour Organization (ILO).

Mr Antwi said it thus incumbent on all workers and social partners to respect the Law and its implementation.

He said to date data showed that GNAT had over 21,000 graduates teaches out of its 162,115 total membership whiles NAGRAT had only 7,271 members.

On the recent scheme of service approved for GNAT , Mr Antwi stressed that TEWU had its scheme of service long ago and that granted a similar structure to their sister union was long over due which provided the entry point and eventual progression of a staff in the Service. He explained that schemes of service in establishments were not negotiable but normally worked out by the Management.

Mr Antwi said according to the numerical strength of GNAT it was legally right for it to be issued with a collective bargaining certificate (CBC) by the Chief Labour Officer as provided for under ACT 651.

The Act has also empowered the GES to use a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to cover the NAGRAT under section 99 of the Law. The relevant section 99 (4) stipulates: 93The Chief Labour Officer shall subject to regulations made by the Minister, determined which union shall hold a collective bargaining certificate for the class of workers in a situation where there is more than one trade union at the workplace=94.

Again section 99 (6) of the Act also says: 93a certificate issued under this section shall have effect not withstanding that some of the workers of the class specified are not members of the trade appointed under the certificate=94.

Mr Antwi said in pursuance of the general freedom of association granted by the 1992 Constitution, the Labour Act had been specifically mandated to regulate industrial relation practice in Ghana.

He said it was wrong perception by a group of workers that once it was registered as an association in compliance with the Constitution, it should be granted an automatic CBC by the Government.

=93Yielding to such a demand will amount to flouting Law 651 and a recipe for total anarchy in the labour front=94, he warned. Mr Antwi cautioned that TEWU would fiercely resist any attempt by the Government to grant such an illegality of a separate CBC for NAGRAT. He also expressed disapproval at the harsh utterances which did not make for peaceful solution to problems by NAGRAT.

He said it was most unfortunate for Mr Kwami Alorvi, NAGRAT President, to have slighted the President of the Nation that even if he intervened they would not call off their strike.

=93As professional teachers, who are entrusted with the task of moulding the youth what signals are they imparting into these young ones?=94 Mr Antwi queried.

=93Let us learn to sow good seeds into the youth who are the future heritage of the nation=94, he counselled. TEWU went on strike in May 2006 to back of its demand for its CBA which was stalled by GES but no sooner than the National Labour Commission (NLC) intervened and the strike was called off and at the end TEWU duly complied with the directive leading to the resumption of the negotiations. 24 Oct 06

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