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General News of Wednesday, 7 June 2006

Source: GNA

TEWU to call off strike, if ...

Accra, June 7, GNA - The Teachers and Educational Workers Union said on Wednesday that it was prepared to call off its strike action if the Ghana Education Service (GES) would begin negotiations on its conditions of service from Thursday, June 8.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Mohammed Seidu Bogobiri, Deputy General Secretary, noted that the National Labour Commission (NLC) had directed the Ministry of Education and Sports represented by the GES to convene the Standing Negotiating Committee on TEWU on June 8 to discuss the issues that led to the strike with a view to arriving at a lasting decision.
Mr Bogobiri said TEWU had been invited by the GES for a meeting on Thursday and TEWU would be able to tell if the strike would be called off or continued after the meeting.
"This is because Management must prove that it has the mandate to negotiate and is ready to start the negotiations," he said. When this happens, then members would be asked to go back to work. Mr Bogobiri said the 40 per cent salary increase TEWU was demanding was a proposal and the Union was not insisting on it. He explained that the 20 per cent salary increase by Government was the basis on which TEWU was negotiating for a higher percentage for its members.
On the end of service benefits, Mr Bogobiri said it was non-contributory by members, adding it was the Government that had to give the employer the mandate to restore it if it knew that it had money to pay.
He said the Thursday discussions would have to centre on all the issues raised, such as responsibility allowance; risk allowance; end of service benefits and salary review because GES could not tackle one issue and leave the others as they all had to do with their conditions of service.
The NLC on Tuesday asked TEWU to immediately call off its nationwide strike action to enable negotiations to commence. "TEWU is to take note and comply because negotiations could not be held at any time during an industrial action as this would be in contravention of the Labour Act," the NLC statement said.
Some schools have closed down because kitchen staff are involved in the strike and were, therefore, not cooking for the students.