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PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE COALITION OF CONCERNED TEACHERS GHANA AT ITS NATIONAL SECRETARIAT, ADDRESSED BY KING ALI AWUDU ON THE 16TH NOVEMBER, 2021.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the media and thank you for responding to our call.
The Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT GH) wish to bring the following issues to the attention of Government as a matter of urgency to address them.
Though the Unions for the Public Sector Workers through the Public Services Joint Standing Negotiations Committee (PSJSNC) agreed on 4% and 7% base pay increment for 2021 and 2022 respectively, the economic situation in the country as of now has necessitated the call to take a second look at the Base Pay.
Since March this year, the conditions of our members (workers) and their purchasing power keep declining as a result of the difficult economic conditions in the country. Prices of goods and services are soaring, thus making the 7% base pay increment for next year already moot. In line with this, we call on government to as a matter of urgency, invite the leadership of Organised Labour, to sit and negotiate for a Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) for all public sector workers to ease the pain and suffering of the economic hardship teachers (workers) go through. The current economic difficulties in the country, in which the prices of all commodities, ranging from fuel to foodstuffs are increasing astronomically. The only mitigation is to have a corresponding salary increase at least in the form of COLA. We call on government to consider a 20% COLA for 2022 in addition to the 7% base pay increment.
OVERHAUL OF THE SINGLE SPINE SALARY STRUCTURE (SSSS)
The Policy that brought about the SSSS has outlived its lifespan, therefore we call on the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to as a matter of urgency convene a meeting with all the relevant parties to review the policy and allow for a realistic remuneration structure to be developed for the Public Sector. Though the SSSS is meant to bridge the gap between public sector salaried workers, it has rather ended up widening the gap, and the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission is now presiding over Unfair Wages and the Single Spine is now Multiple Spine with just a few enjoying realistic wages.
We request that this negotiations should commence before the end of this year so it can be completed before the 2023 negotiations begin in the first quarter of 2022.
THE SEMESTER SYSTEM FOR THE JHS LEVEL
We all agree that, the Semester system was adopted by GES as a means to recover (Recovering Teaching) from the 2020 academic year disrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
That notwithstanding, Teachers have done their best to risk their lives to go to school and teach under these risky conditions as most of the Basic Schools are unable to practice the social distancing recommendation by the Ghana Health Service.
Our teachers have expressed worry about the number of days spent in the Semester System as JHS Students and Teachers spend over twenty weeks in school in a semester. Too much stress is put on the teachers and the students as well. A visit to some of our schools confirmed the lack of concentration by the students and the stress they are going through. We believe GES is very much aware of this situation.
We wish to call for the return of the Trimester system to at least give enough rest time for the students since concentration is key in teaching and learning and also for the instructors to have adequate time to research, teach well and access the Pupils.
NLC AND MATTERS ARISING
The 17th of November 2021 deadline given to GES and Teacher Unions to resolve issues (such as responsibility allowance, deprived area allowance, promotion challenges etc) presented to the National Labour Commission is tomorrow Wednesday November 17th, 2021.
We wish to caution that, if by the 17th of November, 2021, no favourable agreement is reached among the parties, we would not be able to hold the anger of teachers any longer.
ORGANIZATION OF CPD’S
We have taken keen interest in the processes being adopted by some Directorates of GES to compel Teachers to compulsorily undertake Continuous Professional Development (CPD) workshops from some Service Providers without recourse to the policy guidelines for the CPD.
Teachers should rather be encouraged to undertake CPD to build their own points as it is linked to their licence renewal. We would not accept any attempt to force Teachers to go through the training against their will.
Service Providers charging exorbitant fees should desist from it since this would deter Teachers from participating in the CPD in the future.
INDISCIPLINE IN OUR SCHOOLS
It is an undeniable fact that, the Ghanaian child is becoming more indiscipline as a result of the ban on corporal punishment and its related disciplinary measures in our schools giving rise to the various acts of indiscipline in our schools with some resulting in the death of teachers and students, as well as the destruction to school properties. Inasmuch as we are against the abuse of corporal punishment by some teachers, it remains a major disciplinary tool.
We are by this, requesting for broader stakeholder engagement to reconsider the decision of the GES to ban some types of punishments in our schools. When we allow the canker to continue, it may have dire consequences on the future of our children and the country as a whole.
It would be in the interest of Government, through its various ministries and agencies to consider the issues raised and respond to them appropriately to forestall any industrial unrest in the days ahead. Union leadership is unable to hold the anger of workers any longer, for we are sitting on a time bomb waiting to explode if the deplorable working conditions of public sector workers (especially teachers) are not addressed now.
Long live CCT GH.
Long live Teachers.
Long live Ghana.
Dated Tuesday November 16th, 2021.
King Ali Awudu,
President CCT GH