PRESS RELEASE 03/11/2022
TEACHERS HAVE MORE URGENT ISSUES THAT WARRANT STRIKE ACTION RATHER THAN THE APPOINTMENT OF A NEW DG
After going on strike due to the high cost of living, teacher unions negotiated for a 15% COLA. Before the demand, the teaching community was dealing with several concerns that required equal attention. However, the unions choose to focus their justification for COLA on the high cost of living. The profession is still plagued by problems with promotions and transfers, and it doesn’t appear that the teacher unions have made any desperate attempts to guarantee that these problems are remedied. Far from it; after negotiating substandard laptops for teachers, GNAT, NAGRAT, and CCT’s credibility is now in question. They were able to successfully deduct teachers’ salaries, but they were unable to guarantee that all teachers received the laptops in the same manner.
While unions are supposed to represent teachers and act in their best interests, they are presently occupied with opposing the choice of a new director general. The justification they have provided for opposing the appointment is perplexing. Surprisingly, they keep threatening the president with threat after threat, stating, among other things, that teachers must be represented by educators rather than “a banker.” NAGRAT even asserts that the appointment is against the terms of the collective bargaining agreement for teachers. At their most recent conference, GNAT also made a similar vow to vehemently oppose the appointment.
One may question how much effort these unions (GNAT, NAGRAT, and CCT) are exerting to prevent an appointment over which they have no control. The only thing these unions can do to help teachers in Ghana is to oppose the appointment of a new DG although there are other urgent concerns facing them. Ironically, the unions are unable to strike over the backlog of promotions at the headquarters that have been pending since 2016 or the delay in laptop distribution. This demonstrates unequivocally where teacher union interests lay. If teacher unions are truly concerned about the predicament of teachers, we do not believe it is appropriate for them to call for a strike in protest of an appointment when they claim the new DG does not even merit that gesture.
Since GNAT, NAGRAT, and CCT are solely interested in fighting a course that no one has ordered them to fight, teachers must be aware of the truth and be cautious of them. In any scenario, teacher unions should file a lawsuit if they believe the new DG was chosen improperly. What, once more, prevented the teacher unions from meeting with the president or the minister of education to express their dissatisfaction and request for a change? Instead, they opted to issue needless threats in public.
Teachers need to be aware of the following:
(A) The DG is chosen politically. No teacher or GES employee automatically holds the position of Director General.
(b) The administrative nature of the Director General’s position means that it can be filled by the most seasoned administrator from a variety of backgrounds.
(c) The DG works collaboratively. He is supported in his duties at the Headquarters by three other sub-directors.
(d) A mistaken impression that the new DG is only a banker is also present. That is untrue. The new DG had previously taught in tertiary and SHS settings. Additionally, he has done a lot of work for the Ministry of Education.
We implore teachers to hold union officials accountable for better working conditions. Teachers must refuse any UNPRODUCTIVE CALL FOR STRIKE that serves the interests of a select group of privileged national officers of GNAT, NAGRAT, and CCT. NO ONE HAS ASKED THEM TO OPPOSE A POLITICAL APPOINTMENT; IT IS THEIR INTEREST AND VINDICTIVENESS.
Albert Amoah Dadson
*All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG)*