The National Labour Commission (NLC) says the Ministry of Education has legitimate grounds to withhold the August salaries of striking members of the Colleges of Education Teachers Association of Ghana, (CETAG).
According to the NLC, government can also terminate their appointment if ongoing validation by the ministry finds them absent from work.
CETAG embarked on an indefinite strike to push the government to redeem its promise of implementing their negotiated conditions of service.
Their decision follows the non-compliance of the government with the National Labour Commission’s Arbitral Award Orders and the negotiated conditions of service since May 2, 2023.
Speaking to JoyNews, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Ofosu Asamoah said organisers of any illegal strike are responsible for the payment of the salaries of members everywhere in the world and not just Ghana.
“It is a provision in the law that indeed if you are on strike, which is unlawful or illegal, you will not be paid for that period and that the leaders are held accountable. It is not only in Ghana, it is all over the world.
“Even in the UK when you engage on a strike which is not sanctioned, the organisers of the strike or the union will bear the salaries of the members except that in Ghana in most cases, people embark on strike and the government still pays them.
“But the law has not been amended and it is still in the law. So in this case, the Commission has very little say, it only has to determine whether the strike is within the law or not.”
But the President of CETAG, Prince Obeng Himah says they are unfazed by the threat.
Speaking in a separate interview on JoyNews, Mr. Himah said the current strike must be used to make a loud statement.
According to him, due process was followed before members embarked on the strike action, therefore it cannot be said to be illegal.
“Looking at what we have gone through, I think the members of CETAG are prepared to die on the cross of conviction that we have been sidelined and cheated for far too long. People have sacrificed to make the colleges what they are. People are retiring.
“If you look at people who could have gone to the universities to teach, others are doing their PhDs and they are doing the teaching just because of the love they have and you see their salaries, it is nothing to write home about. When we looked at all these things, we embarked on strike and the strike is legal because we went through processes. We have even heard worse things that all tutors are going to be sacked.
“It is only in Ghana that when somebody owes you and you go to the person for your money, he tells you he is going to arrest you.”
The CETAG President added that the NLC as a Commission can ensure that government implements its directive.
“It is extremely important that we use this strike to make a loud statement that the National Labour Commission exists to give orders that are supposed to be complied by both government and employees and that is just what we want the National Labour Commission to do because the issue goes on and off.
“It has been around since 2021 till date,” he stressed.
Credit: Felicia Osei