Teachers’ Strike Action; Matters Arising

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Coalition of Aggrieved Teacher Union Members (CATUM) Writes; 

If Teachers Are Not So Important And Useful To Be Given Better Treatment, Don’t Worry; Focus On The Most Important Class Of Workers/People And Let’s Continue To Stay Home.

Fellow Ghanaians, ladies and gentlemen of the press, the government; for that matter; GES, it has become so important that pre-tertiary teachers of Ghana voice out their grievances, displeasures, and dissatisfaction about the manner of treatment given us in the teaching profession.

Teachers are not slaves, but professionals. Why do the public, the government agencies, stakeholders of education, the media, and other personalities of the country least attach much seriousness with issues concerning the betterment of pre-tertiary education and the wellbeing of pre-tertiary teachers?

We must be sincere to the general-public that, whatever the case may be, a worse teacher is still relevant to the development of his or her students. If not best in teaching”, supervision, care, parenting, advice, and encouragement when parents have left their children in the care of teachers. Then we ask, could the school buildings have taken care of the wards if there is no teacher? What has been the cry of parents when students stay home for long? And why?  

We; members of the teacher unions, for that matter, teachers are taking a serious look at every single matter concerning the current teachers’ strike action, government’s reaction, reactions from parents, fellow working groups, the traditional authorities, the media, parliament, and the likes, putting every comment made by individuals on record to make a very strong and firmer decision about our grounds in the on-going industrial action.

The next step to be taken could be unbearable. Mind us, we are also human beings, so we have our natural rights and freedom. Before becoming teachers, we are Ghanaians and still we are; we therefore have our rights and freedoms as citizens enshrined in the largest laws of the land. And even in the profession, there are rights and freedoms to be enjoyed. So whatever action we are taking today could not be rendered illegal just on one basis of the law, but the ultimate laws.

If the state is ready to face our suit on how many times it has failed to render their portions in full about their responsibilities to education in the country, pay teachers what the government has denied them over years with interests calculated on them and pay penalties to teachers for the numerous irregularities in the psychological framework of teachers by playing sea-shore with educational calendars and curriculum based on the code of conduct, and the collective agreement between GES and its staff, teachers are fully ready to comply with our whatever force the government seeks to use in asking us to go back to work. But in a situation where the government is playing negligence on its duties and compensations, teachers equally have the right to exhibit their legal and national rights.

In the same labour law by which teachers are directed to call off the strike also has portions that compel the teaching body to respectfully turn our tails back at the Government on his failure to execute many of its’ portions in the contract. We have taught ever since we were  appointed, we have giving exercises, assignments, and examinations, marked them for educational purposes. What is left is for the government to explain to us in the public domain:  

  1. Why the government has failed in placing the 2017 batch of teachers who qualified in their monitoring for promotion on the appropriate rank for about three years now, as well as other teachers with similar promotional issues? Is three years denial of one’s promotion a thing to joke with? What about those who are made to pay huge sums of money to further their studies and have been denied to be honoured their benefits by keeping them on their existing or old rank?
  2. Why in the just expired collective agreement, lot of the allowances agreed upon did not and never reflected on pre-tertiary teachers’ payslip?
  3. Why it has failed to post enough teachers for each school to have given equal responsibilities to every teacher, compelling some individual teachers to be teaching multiple classes for years without any extra incentives?
  4. Why up till now, basic schools do not have enough reference materials (textbooks) for all the subjects studied after years of amending the curriculum?
  5. Why some schools still study under trees in this world of technological advancement?
  6. And above all, why up to now, teachers would still have to strike for better conditions of service? Did the government employ us to enslave us?

Now, do we still say that teachers have no right to strike for calling on the government to do the needful for both the students and teachers? Looking critically at the demands up there, even a year strike action would be a consideration on the side of teachers to the government. We better consider treating teachers well from now, which would be the only best means to calm down tempers of teachers.

In a situation where there have not been any special reservations for teachers to enjoy free or subsidized services in the country unlike it is done in some other countries, we must all be enjoying the necessary incentives responsible for increasing our purchasing power as professionals.  

To our union leaders, we the members of all pre-tertiary teacher unions (GNAT, NAGRAT, CCT GH, Innovative Teachers ATTAG, etc.) have formed a single coalition to fully, strongly, and solidly back every claim, steps, and decision you make about demanding for what is rightfully ours as Professionals in our own country.

Never think and assume that you; the union leaders are alone in this battle. Never! The force from your members behind you is stronger this time than ever. We therefore call on you; our union leaders to remain firm, decisive, balanced, loyal, and truthful to the promises of always fighting for the betterment of teachers and in favour of students.

We also add a caution that, we; the members of the teacher unions have not chosen you to represent us for your personal interest or what soever, neither did we choose you for scoring political points in favour of any individual, political party or whatsoever. It is therefore our wish to advice that:

  1. resist any attempt to coerce your effort to bring what you have started to a complete halt. Be it by law or other forms of influence; dialogue or packages nor tokens. If they have any token to give, then they should order the CAGD to spread such token to all your members.
  2. be courageous to engage much experts in every situation related to the current industrial action. We would not like to see nor hear you, as our leaders making lighter weight comments not related to the laws nor our rights and freedoms. in other words, we the teachers would not take to a good heart any directive given in force, treating us like slaves and their masters. we then require you to do extensive consultation to remain firm in the industrial action, despite any form of intimidation. We, your members are strongly behind you planning on the next steps ahead. We are united as professionals, and we shall no longer condone to any illtreatment served against us.
  3. you; the union leaders at all levels from local to, district, region and finally national shall face an immense attack or rebellion is best fit from members should your steps in this strike action re-twits in a direction not in the interest of your members. There, we shall rebel strongly, first against you because we contribute dues for funding everything about our welfare in the profession. We know the government to be our employer and nothing else. Therefore, to face the employer, we shall first come for you; our union leaders. We plead to your high offices as national leaders to at this point:
  4. allow members of our legal council team to be addressing the matter from this point where you are hearing rumours of interrogatory injunction.
  5. that no one from you; the team of leaders should be in hurry in responding to anything just in his or her own perceptions. If possible, district, regional and some individual national leaders be restricted on making conclusions. We are very provoked for the bad treatment given us over ages, which no one has been able to take off such plaque from our eyes.

In conclusion, no one is exempted from feeling the pains and the heat from the economic hardship in our country. Teachers pay same hospital bills as every citizen of the country as well as other working classes, we buy at same prices at the markets and at the glossaries just as every citizen does, we pay similar or same transportation or fuel cost just as everyone living in the country, we equally have risks in our profession and other privileges to enjoy, we deserve to have entertainment and relaxations just as every worker, we do research, spend internet bundles; especially in this time where there are no or limited reference materials for teaching in our schools.

Not just that, we conduct research on progressive methodologies to be adopted in teaching. Teachers wear clothes as well, we rent or own houses and vehicles. What makes teachers different to be denied similar treatments/allowances as other workers in the country enjoy them? Today as we speak, a boiled egg is bought at Ghc 3.00 and a litre of diesel is bought at Ghc 13.00+.  

We want to nail it that, if teachers are not given any relief anywhere in these areas of life, then we have the right to be paid all necessary incentives/allowances due us.  

In case of any reaction and feedback, please refer heading of release. Thank you very much for your audience.

CATUM! SOLIDARITY FOREVER CATUM! TEACHERS DESERVE BETTER TREATMENT NOW

Originally Signed: 

Isaac Agyekum Duodu (Chairman)

(0542285175) 

Alex Osei Bonsu (Secretary)  (0249590508) 

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