The three protesting teacher unions have called off their industrial strike action, after barely a week of tussle with government over some unpaid legacy arrears, ABC News can report.
Their decision comes on the back of a court order secured by the National Labour Commission (NLC) after the teachers failed to comply with the NLC’s directive to halt their strike action which was described as illegal.
The unionised groups, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers – Ghana (CCT-Gh) on Monday, December 9, laid down their tools in protest of government’s failure to settle what they described as legacy arrears owed some of their members from 2012 to 2016, during the Mahama-led administration.
The teachers resolved not to return to class until their demands were met.
The Ghana Education Service (GES) expressed shock at the actions of the teachers as it said government had paid 95 percent of the total staff validated for payment and was in the process of settling the remaining 5 percent.
Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister for Education, who was unhappy with the development accused the opposition National Democratic Congress of instigating the teachers to lay down their tools.
The National Labour Commission (NLC) on Tuesday ordered the teacher unions to “call off the strike immediately and return to work” after the unions boycotted a meeting with the GES, Education Ministry and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission.
The stiff stance taken by the teachers compelled the NLC to secure the injunction from an Accra High Court.
In a letter dated December 12, 2019, and signed by the General Secretary of GNAT, Thomas T. Musah, the three teachers unions declared the strike officially over based on advice from their lawyers on the back of the court’s order.
“Consequent to the declaration of a nationwide industrial action on Thursday, December 5, 2019, by the three Teacher Unions (Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and Coalition of Concerned Teachers – Ghana (CCT-Gh), which commenced on Monday, December 9, 2019, we (GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT-Gh) wish to inform all our members that the Nationwide Strike action which was declared by the three Teacher Unions on Thursday, December 5, 2019, and its subsequent commencement on Monday, December 9, 2019, has been called off.
“This decision of the three Teacher Unions (GNAT, NAGRAT and CCT-Gh), was arrived at on the advice of our Lawyers in consequence to the Court Order dated Wednesday, December 11, 2019, to call off the nationwide strike action which commenced on Monday, December 9, 2019, and as law-abiding citizens, we do so forthwith,” the statement said.
The leadership of the unions further expressed gratitude to their members for the support and indicated that their next line will be soon be made known.
“We hereby wish to inform all our members to call off the nationwide strike action forthwith. We are by this press release thanking all our members for their support and solidarity.
“We have, however, advised our Lawyers to obtain copies of all the Court processes from the Court leading to the said order and which were not served on us before the order was obtained and advise us appropriately. Our next line of action would be communicated to the rank and file in due course,” the statement underscored.
Meanwhile, the President for NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu has hinted that the teachers will lay down their tools again when the 10-day injunction placed on their strike action elapses.
In an interview with Accra-based Citi FM, President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu, averred that the development does not augur well for the future of the pupils and the country as the teachers may not give out their best.
“Once there is a court order, teachers will return to the classrooms even though unwillingly. But there will be no further engagement with the NLC. Our members need their money and they deserve it so we will continue going on strike till we get it.
“The NLC will also have to continue going to court to keep us in the classrooms because if they fail to repeat the notice and the injunction ends, we will resume our strike,” he said.
Read the full satetment below