COLA: Striking Teacher Unions Accuse Government Of Holding Them Hostage As Negotiations Fail

COLA: Striking Teacher Unions Accuse Government Of Holding Them Hostage As Negotiations Fail

  • Pupils of public schools would have to go for many days without academic work as negotiations between four teacher unions and the government fail
  • On Tuesday, the teacher unions walked out of negotiations with the government accusing the government of acting in bad faith
  • The government, meanwhile, says it cannot continue the negotiations while the teachers have not called off the strike

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The four influential teacher unions that have left the classrooms of public schools since July 4 over their demand for Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) say the government was holding them hostage.

Ghanaian teachers classroom
NAGRAT's Angel Carbonu (left) was among the representatives of the teacher unions during the negotiations. Source: UGC/@cititv, Getty Images.
Source: UGC

On Tuesday, representatives of the teacher unions walked out of a meeting with government negotiators trying to get them to call off their strike. The agitating teacher unions accused the government of causing the stalemate because it came to the negotiating table with an untenable demand.

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“They are not ready to welcome us to this meeting, and we cannot begrudge them, and that is why we are walking out,” one of the representatives of the teacher unions told Citi News on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.

Another representative said it appears the government did not want an end to the suspension of academic activities at public schools.

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“They [the government] are asking us to call off the strike before negotiations begin, which means the government side is not ready to continue negotiations unless teacher unions call off the strike. They have held all of us hostage. Since we are undesirable,” the rep of the teachers said as he stormed out of the meeting.

The government’s position is that the law does not permit negotiations while the teachers are on strike. Minister of Employment and Labour Relations Bright Wireko-Brobby, who is leading the government negotiating team, said they “are constrained by the law not to negotiate when one party is on strike.”

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Why the four teacher unions have been on strike close to two weeks

YEN.com.gh reported previously that the four teacher unions declared a nationwide strike from Monday, July 4, 2022, to push the government to pay Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU), and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT), want the government to pay them 20% of their basic salary as allowance.

“We can no longer bear the hardship,” the teacher unions said in a joint statement.

They cite gaping inequality in the salaries of public sector workers as demotivating.

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Source: YEN.com.gh

George Nyavor avatar

George Nyavor (Head of Politics and Current Affairs Desk) George Nyavor writes for YEN.com.gh. He has been Head of the Politics and Current Affairs Desk since 2022. George has over 9 years of experience in managing media and communications (Myjoyonline and GhanaWeb). George is a member of the Catholic Association of Media Practitioners Ghana (CAMP-G). He obtained a BA in Communications Studies from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2010. Reach out to him via george.nyavor@yen.com.gh.

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