President of the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana (CETAG), Prince Obeng-Himah, has revealed that the association is willing to engage the National Labour Commission on condition of service of its members.
According to him, the association has a received a letter from the NLC on a scheduled meeting for tomorrow, August 2, 2023. However, he explained that it will be impossible for members to show up in the meeting because the Congress that they had in Kumasi which resulted in the strike action, ended in the early hours of today.
In light to this, Mr Obeng-Himah stated that currently, all the national executives are on their way to their respective stations, and the possibility of returning to Accra for the meeting tomorrow is impossible.
“Labour commission remains a legal place for all of us workers, employers and employees, and CETAG, we’ve always been law abiding. Except that a meeting of such nature inconveniences [us], and that fact locations, all those things have to be factored in, we [need to] come to an agreement. So, at the end of the day, there should be some form of engagement, but rushing us into a meeting where you’d give us a letter and within a day, we have to be there, it’s something…”Prince Obeng-Himah
Commenting on why CETAG opted to pursue the August 1 strike action, Mr Obeng-Himah stated that the reluctance of government in implementing agreement on condition of service occasioned the move. He indicated that the labour commission came out with orders to be complied with on the 2nd of May this year, as such, when one party is not complying, it behooves on the Commission to go to court to ensure enforcement.
“So, all those things, the labour commission can do without CETAG coming in… Within the period that we sent letters to the labour commission, and we came out with the presser, indicating that we wanted to meet, labour commission never invited us for any meeting. So, I’m surprised that the impression is being created that we’ve been impatient and should have waited for any meeting that was supposed to have happened before declaring action. There wasn’t anything like that on the table.”Prince Obeng–Himah
Government responsible for payments
Since May 2023, the CETAG President noted that there have been several letters written by the association to the National Labour Commission, with separate letters sent to the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission and the finance ministry, all in an attempt to let them know they have a responsibility towards CETAG members.
He emphasized that government and its assigns have a responsibility towards complying with the orders which has economic implications on members of the association.
“All along, that has not been done, and it must be said that in the orders that were given by the labour commission, the government and its assigned, were supposed to have implemented, and so to speak, to have paid what was outlined in there. So, they weren’t ordered to come out with explanations. For us, the only definition of compliance to the orders will be paying when they have to pay, but not to come out with letters explaining what we have done… Because all those things do not translate into money which will solve bread and butter issues.”Prince Obeng–Himah
Furthermore, Mr Obeng-Himah noted that he will be surprised if any action is taken against CETAG due to the strike. This, he explained, is because government along with its assigns are non-compliant in this case.
In his defense, he further urged the NLC to rather compel the finance ministry and others who are supposed to make payments expedite the process.