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General News of Thursday, 21 February 2008

Source: GNA

We'll reject 10 per cent salary increase - NAGRAT

Accra, Feb. 21, GNA - The Greater Accra Regional Branch of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) on Thursday appealed to government to implement the proposed Universal Salary Structure as soon as possible since life was unbearable for majority of public workers.

It said the speculation of a 10 per cent salary increase across board for this year for workers was unacceptable and would only increase the disparities within the salary structure as well as widen the existing gaps.

"We call on all Ghanaian workers to reject this 10 per cent across board policy being speculated," Mr. Eric Angel Carbonou, Regional Chairman, NAGRAT, said at a press conference in Accra.

He said in spite of the increases in fuel prices, with its price hikes, the high cost of accommodation, increases in school fees and the like, "the income of teachers and other public sector workers has remained at the 2006 levels," with promises of a universal salary structure, which appears cannot be implemented immediately.

"We want to use this opportunity to call on Government to address the needs of the Ghanaian worker in relation to the harsh economic conditions of the country," Mr Carbonou said.

Touching on the proposed Three Tie Pension Scheme, the Regional Chairman said it had been over three years since the Bediako Commission presented its report to the President.

"The President promised to have a quick study of the report and also promised a prompt implementation.

"Up to date there is no sign of Government implementing the new Pension Scheme for workers."

"Our members continue to retire into poverty," Mr Carbonu said,

and called on Government to quickly implement the new pension

Scheme to alleviate the suffering of poor workers who had served the

nation all their lives. On the seizure of the October 2006 salaries of NAGRAT members

who went on strike, Mr Carbonou said, although the Association had

about 10,000 registered members, only 4,000 were affected by the

action. "Teachers who were not NAGRAT members were also affected," he

said. Mr Carbonou added that this was an indication that the salary

seizure was done without any scientific basis. The Regional Chairman said NAGRAT deemed the seizure of

teachers' salaries as illegal and therefore called on the Controller and Accountant General's Department to release the salaries unconditionally

and with interest since "we know it has been lodged into a bank

account". He also called on the national leadership of NAGRAT to begin

considering actions that would bring pressure to bear on the

Government, the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education

Service to begin taking the concerns of teachers seriously. "We in the Greater Accra Region will begin taking actions such as

street demonstration, go slow at work and the like, if government fails

to address our concerns," Mr Carbonou said. 21 Feb. 08

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