Angered by the National Labour Commission’s late invitation to a crunch meeting involving the government and the two striking teacher bodies, the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) say they are also laying down their tools.
Joy News can confirm that the union met today and has formally decided to join the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) on a nationwide strike.
The National Labour Commission Wednesday directed the government represented by the Fair Wages and Salary Commission (FWSC) to sit with GNAT and NAGRAT to resolve their grievances and report to the Commission in seven days. The teachers were supposed to go back to the classroom as negotiations continue.
But President of TEWU, Peter Lumor suggested on Joy FM’s Top Story that their members have been ignored, which he said is an indicative of the fact that the government does not take them serious.
“We have decided to ask TEWU members to join the ongoing strike, because the issue at stake does not affect only GNAT and NAGRAT members, it affects TEWU members also.”
He said their concerns have been raised several times and even when the Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur met organized labour on Friday, as well as the meeting with the Chief of Staff at the Flagstaff House on Sunday, their concerns were equally highlighted.
He therefore asked, “is it because we have not declared a strike people are not taking us serious? And you invite GNAT, NAGRAT to Labour Commission and you left out TEWU.”
Even though TEWU was invited to the Wednesday’s meeting with NLC, Mr Lumor said they could not honour the invitation because it came in late at 9am when the meeting was also scheduled for the same day in the morning.
He explained “Our management committee was meeting and our members all over the country were calling [asking] what was happening and we have to meet, discuss and tell them something. So we could not postpone our management committee at 9am and go to that meeting.”
But Head of Communications at the FWSC, Earl Ankrah indicated that the Commission cannot be blamed for the late invitation, although regrettable.
Nevertheless, he said late invitation to emergency meetings such as the one held today was nothing unusual, describing TEWU’s absence as “unfortunate”.
He also wondered how TEWU’s decision to go on strike would pan out now that the NLC has directed GNAT and NAGRAT to resume work and go back to the negotiations table. He added that the call by TEWU “is a little disjointed” and called on them to allow negotiations to go on.