The Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG), has stated that even if their strike leads to salary reductions, its members would continue being on strike.
Prince Obeng Himah, the President of CETAG, stated that they will not be shocked if the government tried to stop paying them during the strike.
CETAG members from all 46 training colleges have been on strike since August 1, citing the government’s failure to adhere to the National Labour Commission (NLC)’s Arbitral Award Orders and the negotiated conditions of service since May 2, 2023. Despite repeated notices sent to the Ministry of Finance, the agreed-upon negotiations have not yet been implemented, leading to the continued impasse.
When asked if CETAG would be surprised if the government decides not to pay them for the time they have been on strike, Mr. Himah responded that they would not be, as they have heard rumors in some corners that they would face repercussions, if they dared to go on strike.
“These were some of the things that were whispered, that salaries will be frozen, those of us leading the strike will be imprisoned, and we are fully aware of what is ahead as union members. How do you say we won’t be paid if we don’t sign attendance, when it has not been part of our scheme of things?”Prince Obeng Himah
Also, he demanded that CETAG and the NLC have a direct discussion about their outstanding salaries.
“We are not happy with the turn of events. We need to fight to right the wrongs. If we do not fight, we will not even live to benefit what we are fighting for. The whole documentation should result in payments. At the end of the day, the economy is hard, and people continue to be on expired 2021 conditions of service. Those are the things we should pay attention to.
“We are talking about arrears from January 2023 to date. Now what is the road map? Are we going to be paid the arrears? We should have open frank conversation on the way forward so that all of us will be informed on how we are going about it.”Prince Obeng Himah
NLC Calls For The Punishment Of CETAG
Ofosu Asamoah, the Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission, has urged the administration to retaliate against the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG) for organizing an unauthorized strike.
Mr. Asamoah believed that CETAG members should face consequences for starting unlawful strikes and berated them for refusing to change their minds after being counseled not to do so.
“The Commission has told you, don’t go, and you went. And it says stop what you are doing, and you say you won’t. Defying the orders of the Commission is an unlawful act. The Commission will have to resort to the court to compel them to go back to the classrooms, if they still proceed on the strike. And then their employers will also have the right to punish them for proceeding with this illegal strike. Two wrongs, do not make a right. The fact that the employer was in default doesn’t mean that you should also do that.”Ofosu Asamoah
Moreover, Gifty Twum Ampofo, the deputy Minister of Education in charge of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), also fervently urged CETAG to end its current strike action and enter into fruitful negotiations with the government to allay their grievances.
On August 16, CETAG and NLC are anticipated to have a meeting.